Presentation skills are essential for anyone who wants to convey information or ideas effectively. A good presentation will usually inspire a few compliments. A bad presentation will usually inspire whispered criticism behind your back.

The Basic Idea

Clear communication is the foundation of a presentation. To facilitate that goal one needs to understand the art of storytelling, and what messages color, layout, fonts, photography, video and audio communicate.

Pitfalls and Solutions

  • Pitfall: The use of “um” “like” “whatever” “sort of” and other repeated vagaries.
    Solution: Memorize your first and last sentence to avoid “um” at the start. Pause silently and sweep the crowd with your eyes as you form you next sentence silently.
  • Pitfall: Reading off the screen. We can read! Don’t read to us!
    Solution: Use cards, or private notes instead. Glance quickly if you must look at your own presentation. Speak about the text on the screen, vs reading it.
  • Pitfall: Slides/prints with too much small text.
    Solution: An image is worth a 1000 words. Pick ones that say what you want to communicate. Use private notes.
  • Pitfall: Unpleasant, distracting, or just plain terrible design.
    Solution: Study C.R.A.P.. Keep it simple, pick three colors that go well together. If you don’t know what you’re doing, pick a solid white or black background, black text and use a lot of large clear photos, graphics and few words.

Example

Steve Jobs Introduces The First iPhone to Developers
Storytelling, pacing, and slide design in action.

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