WELCOME TO MY BLOG
Welcome Marvelous People! This blog is from a guest blogger Myra Corrello. Myra will walk you through the importance of pre-presentation planning and how to use it to enhance your success as a presenter. I hope you find it as useful as I did!
Peace, Love and Gumbo
Marvin LeBlanc, LUTCF, CNP
This past weekend marked the start of summer travel season, many of you, like me, are making last-minute preparations for a trip. The most organized among us know that the whole preparation process can be greatly improved by using a packing checklist. From remembering an endless collection of technology adapters and chargers to the kid’s favorite snacks and toys, smooth traveling results from using a good preparation system.
Preparing to deliver a presentation involves similar logistical considerations and systematic steps. In this month’s article, I'll share with you several items you may want to add into your pre-presentation checklist. Early and systematic planning will go a long way in enhancing your effectiveness on the Big Day.
Whether packing for your big trip or your next presentation, take a few minutes to make sure you’ve covered all your bases. Happy and safe travels!
Use a Pre-Presentation Checklist to Enhance Your Success
Ask the meeting planner for an estimated attendance at the beginning of discussions and continue to stay abreast of attendance changes till the day of the event. Audience size affects many logistical options and choices. For small groups, you have more flexibility to involve them in whole-group activities and discussions. Moving them around the room is also easier. You are also freer to roam among your audience in an intimate setting. For large audiences, you'll need to work harder to connect with everyone. It will also impact your choice of interactive activities and visual aids.
In some situations, you'll be able to influence seating arrangements. In others, you’ll need to adapt to their pre-specified format. Ask whether there is flexibility. Seating arrangement impacts your ability to communicate with them and their ability to communicate with each other. For small groups where you are serving primarily as a facilitator, you will want to request either a U-shape (to facilitate whole-group discussion) or table rounds (for small-group interaction). Theatre-style seating accommodates more people but it limits your audience's ability to work together, comfortably take notes, and manage their materials. Consult your meeting planner early and use their feedback to help you make the best decisions.
Getting your audience engaged and involved is critical to your success in any presentation. In the February 2011 issue of Simple Strategies I shared with you my 3-step formula to insure maximum audience learning: teach → apply → share. How can you build in a 3-step learning process in your situation? Audience size and room layout, among other variables, affect your option s. If you're facing a large audience, you'll want to consider polling strategies – anything from raised hands or standing to electronic polling devices. In large audiences, you can also use "pair-share" techniques -- having them work independently on their application and then sharing their results with a neighbor. You can also arrange for a second microphone to be able to float through the room via a facilitator -- or have a few people come to the front of the room to speak into your microphone. (Just make sure that you or the facilitator maintain complete control of the microphone to prevent anyone from grandstanding.) As mentioned earlier, a smaller audience gives you greater freedom to build in interactive activities. But remember that regardless of the size of the audience, audience interaction is a critical piece.
While PowerPoint and other visual software is considered standard for most business presentations, there are many situations where models, demonstrations, props and other visual aids still have relevancy. The old-fashioned flip chart or whiteboard is still a great way to capture audience input as long as audience size stays at 40 or under. Just remember that flip chart paper and other materials may be best managed with the help of an assistant -- which should be recruited before the presentation begins. Consider audience members in the back of the room. Will they be able to see your visual aid? Are there other options that could be more effective? Knowing your audience size and room layout are critical for making the right visual aid choices.
If you choose to use PowerPoint, make sure and pack extension cords, a multi-head ada ptor, and remote control. If possible, have a backup projector and laptop available. Load your presentation file onto the computer in advance. Don’t rely solely on one flash drive. Have a backup plan for every element.
Determine in the early stages of planning whether you or the meeting planner will be responsible for duplication and distribution of handouts. While allowing the meeting planner to print handouts is a nice convenience it does require you to: 1) prepare your program and handouts early (giving them proper time) and 2) you do lose control over the quality of the handouts. Doing them yourself can be more expensive and, if you’re traveling, may involve shipping or working with an on-site duplicator. In return, you control the quality of the document -- which carries your name.
On each handout page, make sure to have a header and footer that provide your name, contact information, and any proprietary rights and restrictions. Documents are shared and passed around. You want anyone who gains access to the handout to be able to contact you for more information.
Find out in advance if your presentation will be videotaped. In some cases, you might request that you be allowed to video the session. That video can give you important post-presentation quality feedback and excerpts might be helpful in promoting your work to others. In other cases, you might not want the session videoed but it's a requirement of the meeting planner. Rights and restrictions to the video are a negotiable item. Think carefully about what you want and need and be prepared to negotiate.
Are microphones intimidating and restrictive? Sometimes. Practice with them and work with the meeting planner to make sure you have a microphone that meets your needs (i.e. wireless, lapel, hand-held). Many speakers carry their own to insure proper quality and compatibility with their needs.
Take time to prepare a proper 1.5 to 2-minute speaker introduction and share it with your meeting planner/intro ducer in advance AND bring a printed copy to the session (they often forget to bring it). Your introduction is critical for establishing credibility and building anticipation for your program. Don't make the most common mistake of treating your introduction like a bio. While a bit of biographical information is important, it should only be elements that are relevant to the current presentation. As much as 70% of the speaker introduction should focus instead on "wetting the appetite" of your audience for the program. Make sure your introduction is limited to one printed page, double-spaced, and 14 font size. Ask the meeting planner to please follow the script as closely as possible.
Get emails and cell phone numbers for everyone: the meeting planner, the banquet manager, etc. Last-minute communication needs always arise. Have numbers at your fingertips at all times.
Early planning, preparation, and communication will not only help your Big Day go more smoothly, it sets an important tone of professionalism between you and the meeting planner. A successful team effort will likely result in repeat speaking invitations -- a win-win for all.
Dr. Myra Corrello helps entrepreneurs, executives, and subject-matter-experts craft presentations to increase revenue, secure investors, build PR, or enhance overall effectiveness. She offers presentation-skills support through coaching, consulting, on-site training, webinars, and downloadable self-study resources.
Find out more at:
or contact Myra at (504) 899-8660
or by email: Myra@PresentationsForResults.com
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