When you think of giving a presentation, does your heart start racing in excitement or fear? Do you rejoice at the thought of sharing your expertise in a subject you’re passionate about or do you freeze at the idea of speaking in public? Do you ooze confidence and charisma, or are you worried you’ll botch your point?
Chances are, if you’re not Steve Jobs — no introduction needed; Gary Vaynerchuk, social media pro and author of the best-stelling Crush It! and The Thank You Economy (about which I coincidentally wrote a post last year…); or Scott Harrison, Founder and CEO of charity: water; you could use some tips and tricks of the trade to improve your presentation skills.
Lucky for us, these three very different but equally poignant presenters have left us plenty of raw material to binge on and learn from. HubSpot even put together a very helpful deck of “10 Lessons From The World’s Most Captivating Presenters” to help you turn “yawn-inspiring” into “awe-inspiring.”
I highly recommend you check out the full article and deck, which I’ve embedded at the end of this post. To whet your appetite, here are my top 3 takeaways:
Use Plain English
In addition to being a marketer, I’m a writer; and as a writer, I love words. I love their power to convey ideas and stories; I love how you can make them sing by placing them just… like… that; and I love how this one word can totally blow that other one out of the water — if you can only find it.
But that doesn’t mean I like fluff.
Whether you’re introducing a new indie act, giving a year-in-review of your label/product/company, or participating in a panel discussion at a big (or small!) industry event, drop the jargon and let people focus on the idea behind your words rather than what the hell they mean.
Ditch The Bullet Points
As a person who loves organization and everything that comes with it (lists, notebooks, colored pens), this one is difficult for me to implement. Bullets are so clear and easy to follow, right? Not quite.
“The minute you put bullet points on the screen, you are announcing ‘write this down, but don’t really pay attention to it now.’ People don’t take notes at the opera.”
This hit me like a bullet — no pun intended — (OK, pun totally intended). Every time I see a page with bullets on a screen, I automatically take my color-coded pens and furiously start copying everything down while trying to still focus on what the presenter is saying — key word here being “trying.” In my mind, I think it’s worth it because I’ll remember everything via my transcribed bullets, but in practice, I’m losing the insight that is tied to the words I’ve jotted down and the valuable conclusions the presenter, who has spent much more time on this than I have, has come to and is sharing with me.
A Picture Is Worth 1,000 Words