Low hanging fruit for presenters

If you ever talk to a group of people, you know that the art of presentation is one that requires a lifetime to master. But there are some dirt simple things you can do that will have a positive impact on your presentations. Here is my list of low hanging fruit for presenters:

  • If you’re using a computer, use a presentation remote. This is a cheap and easy way to make your presentation style look a little more professional.
  • If you’re using visuals, try and place yourself to the left of the visuals from the point of view of the audience. In the western culture, people scan scenes from left to right. By standing to the left, they will look at you first.
  • If your using visuals, place a laptop (or a monitor) between you and the audience with your slides on them. Turning to look at the slides over your shoulder seems uncertain, looking down at the monitor seems thoughtful.
  • Before you start speaking, take a few good breaths. Don’t rush. And whatever you say first, “ummm…” and “yes….” should not be it.
  • When you’re done speaking say “thank you for your attention”. This will trigger the primate clapping response. An uncertain ending leaves the audience wondering when they should applaud.
  • Find the friendly faces. Every audience contains those few people that smile when you look at them. Use them whenever you’re uncertain an need a kick of positive energy.

There are many hard and time consuming skills required to give good presentations. The list above is full of no brainers. These things you can do with no practice and no preparations.

Copyright © 2009 Johannes Brodwall. All Rights Reserved.

About Johannes Brodwall

Johannes is Principal Software Engineer in SopraSteria. In his spare time he likes to coach teams and developers on better coding, collaboration, planning and product understanding.
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  • http://mydisruptivethinking.blogspot.com/ Steinar Ardal

    This was a really nice list of simple tings to remember when presenting. If I should add just one more, it would be to practice a lot on the introduction of the presentation, in order to keep it short and to spark an interest for your subject.

  • http://www.brodwall.com/johannes/blog/ jhannes

    Good point, Steinar. Perhaps this could be the seed of a similar post on “how to prepare efficiently for a presentation”?

  • http://brukskvalitet.no Ram Yoga

    Sweet and short. Excellent points all.

    Edward Tufte also has some nice pointers: http://www.cs.umd.edu/class/spring2002/cmsc434-

  • http://www.brodwall.com/johannes/blog/ jhannes

    Some more tips from Duncan Davidson: http://duncandavidson.com/2009/03/dear-speakers….

    A microtip if you find yourself pacing too much: Stand with your knees bent slightly, “grounding” you too a spot. If you're doing it right, nobody will notice, and you will have to make a conscious effort to walk.

  • http://www.johannesbrodwall.com/ Johannes Brodwall

    Some more tips from Duncan Davidson: http://duncandavidson.com/2009/03/dear-speakers… (via Ram Yoga).

    A microtip if you find yourself pacing too much: Stand with your knees bent slightly, “grounding” you too a spot. If you're doing it right, nobody will notice, and you will have to make a conscious effort to walk.