Businessmen and professionals from time to time get to attend conferences to learn from top experts in their field in marketing, law, finance, or other aspect of business. You probably have enjoyed many conferences and learned a tremendous amount of information to take back to your company or office to take your work to the next level. I’ve been to some great conferences with dynamic speakers and great information that has fired me up and inspired me to work harder, smarter, and better.
But, sometimes I have been to conferences that are abysmal and lack inspiration, passion, and the content is really bad too. If you have ever shared that experience, you know that you don’t want to ever give a presentation to others that lacks passion, professionalism, and polish. In this post, I share with you ways in which you can wow your audience in your next presentation!
Prepare rock solid content.
While you do want to have the necessary gadgets and gizmos, the number one thing you want to make sure you have is a rock solid presentation and the best content that you can deliver. Make sure that you do the necessary research on your topic, and learn as much as you can about the topic and prepare the best presentation you can.
In preparing as much as you can for this presentation, you’ll be confident that you will deliver a great presentation and be able to answer any questions you might have of the audience.
Design a professional looking slide deck
Even if you have great content and you’re well prepared, you don’t want to make the mistake of making your presentation lackluster by not having an outstanding and well designed slide deck. Many average speakers put everything on the slides of their Powerpoint (if they’re a PC) or Keynote (if they’re a Mac) and read off the slides as they click through them. I’ve seen countless presenters treat their powerpoint as if they are index card with every detail on them. Your presentation is not your slide deck, it’s what you say from the stage.
So, work with someone to design your slides so that what you present supports your presentation and doesn’t detract from it. That may mean putting less words on slides, cutting some slides, or changing graphics on them. Getting a designer to help with font, colors, and layout will help your presentation look professional and stand out amongst other presentations that didn’t go the extra mile.
After you create your powerpoint presentation, take the extra steps to save a copy of it to your computer, to an external thumb drive or cloud storage like Dropbox, and then export that presentation to pdf form. Why? Because technology fails when you least expect it and you might need a backup and this way you can use other computers and a simple pdf viewer to show your slides.
Own the necessary Technology
Now that you have a rock solid presentation and a professional slide deck designed complete with backups, you should now invest in the necessary equipment to deliver your presentation. You should consider the following equipment:
- Laptop Computer – this will hold your slide deck in either Powerpoint or Keynote will help you deliver your presentation
- LCD Projector (optional) – while many hotels, conference rooms, or venues may be able to provide a projector for your presentation, you may not be able to guarantee the quality or compatibility of them with your presentation.
- Projection Screen (optional) – closely related to the LCD projector, you may want to own your own screen if you want to maintain the quality of your presentation. While some venues may have one, you don’t want to leave it to chance that you’ll be showing your slides on a blank wall that may diminish your presentation.
- Presentation Remote – not optional. If you wish to solely control your slides from the computer, you may not want to have a presentation remote in your possession. But, if you want the ability to control a slide deck away from your computer, get yourself a remote!
- Cables and Connectors (not optional) – again, while some venues may have them, you should be prepared with any cables and connectors that you’ll need to connect your laptop to the projector and your laptop to power.
- Microphone (optional) – unless you do a lot of speaking a microphone might not be necessary, but if you do plan on speaking a lot, having your own microphone (Countryman for example) would be a nice touch.
Prepare the day before
You’ve spent a lot of time and maybe a little bit of money preparing and outfitting yourself for your presentation and the last thing you want to do is set yourself up for failure the day before you speak. What do you do? First, get plenty of rest the night before. Make sure that whatever amount of sleep you need is something you can get and go to bed early to do so. Second, make sure that you drink plenty of water, but not too much, otherwise you might be uncomfortable during your presentation. Hydration will help you be energetic, give your voice a boost, and help you look great on stage. Third, you’ll want to get a good breakfast in before your presentation. Choose food that is high in protein and not too heavy.
Hopefully, you’re one of the professionals out there that want to deliver wow presentations and not one who doesn’t care. In this post I’ve covered everything you need to give an outstanding presentation. You want to prepare for your topic, create a professional looking slide deck, make sure you have the necessary technology, and prepare the day before.
How do you prepare for your presentations? Have I missed something critical? Let us know in the comments below!