Workshop: Upping Your Presentation Game: Creating an Engaging and Effective Message

Blogger: Alayna Curry, APR (Orlando Area Chapter)

Upping Your Presentation Game: Creating an Engaging and Effective Message
Presented by: Devon Chestnut, APR, CPRC - Communications Manager, Cox Communications
Link to presentation: http://prezi.com/wjqo6y5ax-o6/?utm_campaign=share&utm_medium=copy 

As someone who gives presentations on a weekly (and sometimes daily) basis, I was excited to hear and blog about Devon’s workshop on creating an engaging and effective message. I found myself nodding along and wanting to shout AMEN throughout her entire presentation. Many of the tips and tricks she discussed I use on a regular basis and are very helpful in reaching your audience.
Devon opened with a comical “what not to do” video of public speaking from Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. The monotone voice of Ben Stein was a perfect example of how to bore your audience to tears. So, what should you do? Here’s four simple steps.
Step 1: Create the story
  • Frame your story. Determine the start and end and then build the story within that. It’s much harder to start from scratch and work from the beginning.
  • Research your audience. Know who you’re talking to, what they already know and what they want to know.
  • Don’t give vague information.You want the audience to leave wanting more because your presentation was so good, not because you left things out. Don’t use acronyms or industry jargon that the audience won’t understand.
  • Avoid information overload. You don’t want the audience to lose the message. Keep it simple and stick to the key topics.
Step 2: Build the story. 
  • Use a similar look and feel throughout the presentation. Don’t use both clip art and photos. Try not to use too many different fonts or colors.
  • Use appropriate text and fonts for the audience. You probably shouldn’t use silly fonts if you’re presenting to your C-suite.
  • Less is more. Don’t use a lot of text. Your presentation is just the support material.
  • Make the investment in good photos and visuals for impact. Keep videos to 60 seconds or less.
  • Proofread. Many newer presentation programs (like Prezi) don’t have spell check as an option.
Step 3: Deliver the story.
  • Work on your delivery and tone. Try not to use a script. If you need a reminder, use notecards with only a few bullets.
  • Avoid distractions. Watch your posture – don’t rock back and forth. Leave loud jewelry at home and don’t use slides with too many effects.
  • Keep eye contact. If this makes you nervous, talk to audience members ahead of time to get comfortable. Find some friendly faces to look to during the presentation.
  • Pay attention to audience engagement. Be aware of their body language. How are they reacting?
  • Mind your time. Get to your presentation early so you can test out technology. It might be helpful to get your own slide advancer that you’re comfortable with.
  • Have a backup plan in case technology doesn’t work. Bring your presentation on a jump drive or print out a PDF.
Step 4: Utilize tools and resources.
During the Q&A time, I shared a tool that I’ve found helpful when giving presentations. SlideShark is an app you can download on your iPad and iPhone. Upload a PowerPoint presentation to the SlideShark website from your computer and then download it to the app on your iPad. Your phone works as the remote and has lots of different features. The best part: once it’s downloaded, you don’t need wifi!
Overall, a very informative session that will help our members give better and more engaging presentations. Great job, Devon!

DChestnutDevon Chestnut, APR, CPRC, is the communications manager for Cox Communications, a communications and entertainment company, providing advanced digital video, internet, telephone and home security and automation services. Chestnut’s role includes managing Cox’s Southeast Region internal communications for more than 1,900 employees working in the states of Florida, Georgia and Louisiana. She also plays a pivotal role on several national company projects and initiatives. In addition, she manages community outreach efforts within the Central Florida markets.

 

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