Power Pointers

06.21.07 | Comment?

Presenters, please, I implore you, follow some simple rules to keep your audience engaged and happy. Today, I suffered through 32 presentations from professionals in front of an audience of over 700 other professionals. Now, not everyone will be or even can be, a great presenter. But, everyone can be a competent presenter. So, in the hopes that I can help, I’ll share some very simple rules about presentations that will help keep an audience engaged in this age of mobile phones and iPods… The following lists are the do’s and do nots of presentations.


  • Have a crisp message
  • Engage your audience’s emotion in some way, early in the presentation with an image or story
  • Speak slowly and clearly, pause where appropriate, drink water if you’d like
  • Leave time for questions and answers (if that is the format)
  • Use images and pictures, the right picture is worth 1,000 words
  • Create a call to action and prepare for that throughout your presentation

Do NOT…..

  • Read your slides verbatim, your audience came to hear what is not on the slides
  • Use “eye charts” – slides with small graphs and figures
  • Read a script for your talk – if you want to submit a paper great, we’ll read it. We don’t need you to read it to us.
  • Use slides as a crutch, they’re to amplify what you have to say. You’re not there to amplify the slides.
  • Be yourself. Everyone gets nervous presenting, everyone understands. But you wouldn’t be asked to present if you didn’t have something to share. That’s what the audience wants, share it as yourself.

Over my career I’ve given thousands of presentations to audiences large and small. I still get nervous when I do it. But, remember the audience wants you to succeed and wants to hear what you have to share. The more you can be yourself the easier it is to convey the message. And please, don’t read your slides or a script, that is the most disrespectful thing you can do to an audience.

For your enjoyment, here’s a YouTube video of a comedian talking about similar topics…

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