happy <---- Please note: You will never have an audience this happy
or interested in your presentation so you have some work to do!

The Keys to Effective Business Presentations:


* Keep your presentation brief and to the point (“clear, concise, bold”). No one has ever complained about a business presentation being too short in the entire history of the business world.

* Take the time you need to get completely set up and ready to go before you start. To gain the attention of your audience, simply say “good morning” (or “ good afternoon”). Pause and wait. Repeat a few times and move slightly to different sides of the boardroom if necessary. When you have everyone’s attention say “good morning I’m [first name] [last name]” and begin your presentation. Never stop to fix an error on a slide, or to deal with a computer problem, once you have started your presentation. Just keep going.

* Avoid jargon. Any words you don’t read regularly in a newspaper are suspect (e.g. a new “paradigm” -- Thank you Dr. David L. Belden of ASME, I will never forget your advice and humor on that one!).

* Be creative and use graphics on all presentation slides. Everyone comprehends information more easily in graphical format.

* You can attach audio clips or short video clips to your slides but only if they are relevant to your presentation. Don’t add unnecessary “bells and whistles.”  No one will be impressed and everyone will be annoyed.

* Include 2 to 3 bullet-points maximum of critical information on each slide. More than that is too much. The bullet points and text on slides must also be large and legible. Many business presenters prefer to use a dark blue/navy blue background on slides, and yellow or white for the bullet points and text.

* Put additional important information in your personal notes for your spoken presentation or in handouts that you give to the audience, not on your visual slides.

* Put all minor details and digressions in footnotes. Then delete those footnotes and never mention them.

* Make your talking points interactive -- don't lecture your audience. Encourage people to think by asking questions and allowing them time to think and respond.

* Do not ignore someone who raises his/her hand to ask a question during your presentation and take the time to answer it briefly. If you don’t know the answer to a question, say you don’t know and you will have to look into it. Never ever make up a bs answer. You will be called out on it and you and your presentation will lose credibility. If a question is asked that is entirely off topic, politely say you’d be happy to address that after your presentation.

* Stand with your feet shoulder length apart, and arms naturally down at your sides. Do not cross your arms, put your hands in your pockets, clasp your hands together in front or in back of you, or lean against the board/wall. Try not to sway. If you’re nervous, plant a hand on the podium, chair, or boardroom table if necessary. Move naturally now and then towards your audience on both sides of the boardroom and use hands sparingly to emphasize key points. Never turn your back entirely to the audience and never read word for word from your visual slides like a book report. You will lose the attention of your audience quickly. As much as possible avoid saying: “Um, like, you know” etc. but don’t panic if you do because all presenters make those mistakes.

* Lastly, there must be urgency to your speech. Show you care! Why should your audience care and not fall asleep during your presentation?

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