Slider Presents, Content Director, Jez Paxman, shares some thoughts from the presentation front line.

I’ve seen a lot of presentations. Some I’ve helped write and design. Some have been delivered at events I’ve worked on. Some have been just for fun.

Here are ten things to do with both content and delivery that I’ve observed make for a brilliant presentation.

1) Be an expert

You’ve asked for the audience’s attention, they expect you to know things they don’t. Early on build trust by demonstrating that you’re on top of your game.

2) Be yourself

Just because you’ve got a stage doesn’t mean you have to act. Don’t adopt a presentation style that isn’t true to you. Find out what works for you and craft it.

3) Be aware

There are some things that are just annoying: endless pacing around the stage, being awkward with your hands, filler words (like, um, you know). Be aware of these things and sort them out.

4) Know what you’re trying to change

Why are you taking up all these people’s time? What is it that you want them to do differently or think differently as a result of your presentation? Define this and build your presentation around it.

5) Have a S.T.A.R moment

S.T.A.R = Something They’ll Always Remember. This is an acronym coined by US presentation designers Duarte.  Bill Gates released a jar of mosquitoes on stage to make a point about malaria. Al Gore used a cherry picker to follow a graph line showing future CO2 emissions off the chart. Do something different and be remembered.

6) Be Honest

There’s an elephant in every room – don’t ignore it. Your audience are going to be far more open to engaging if you recognise failures as well as successes.

7) Story before slides

Decide your structure and refine your story before thinking about slides. Turning to slides too early in the process leads to muddled thinking.

8) Edit ruthlessly

Watch any great presentation and you’ll notice it doesn’t have any fat. Every point is needed. If you’re asked to do a 15min presentation, edit it down to 10mins, it’ll be better. A truth about audiences is that they always want things to end sooner.

9) Embrace the big screen

From mobiles to bus stops the world is awash with screen content – the vast majority created by professional designers. Powerful slides add a whole other dimension and help you emotionally connect, whilst poorly conceived slides can undermine the whole thing. If design isn’t your thing then get some professional support.

10) Invest time

There’s no getting away from it, great presentations take a lot of time to structure, craft and rehearse.

These are my top ten. What’s on your list? Do drop me a line.