For the UXDX Conference in Ireland in 2019, I was invited to answer 10 questions about how to begin to get prepared to give a killer presentation. Okay, truth, there were 11 questions, but I skipped one. So here are my 10 answers in one, 10-minute, continuous video response (unedited at the request of the organizer).
- How does a beginner find a presentation style that suits them? Do you have a preference on what works best with the majority of audiences?Be yourself! Know what the audience needs and deliver it in your style.
- When designing your deck, what rule do you stick to? (e.g. structure, slide number, text ratio)See below. Too much to answer in a minute!
- What tips can you offer to keep your presentation on point?To keep your presentation on point at the end – it needs to begin with really rigorous content framing well before you build your talk. Pick the one idea you want to share, how you can support it with no more than 3 points, and then organize the data and story that will support those points. Then you can develop your talk to stay on point!
- What would you say to people who have a fear of public speaking? How do you manage your fear on stage?– Work on your content so you know what you need to say – anxiety comes from not knowing your points– See the room in which you will be presenting and try to practice in it, even that morning of your event– Seek lots of feedback from colleagues and friends, including video recording it to give yourself feedback too!
- What is the best way to captivate an audience? (likeability)– Make sure the audience cares about the question you are answering (the WHY)– Use story to keep them engaged – sensory data helps keep them connected– Never ever read a talk!
How does someone improve their presence on stage?
Read Gina Barnett’s book Play the Part. No one does stage presence better.
- How do you get feedback on your delivery?Ask for it! Then ask them to deliver it in this sequence:– What was the big idea that you conveyed (did they hear it?)– What questions can they answer for you (the speaker) to clarify anything that felt awkward or unclear?– What questions do they have that you can answer for them– THEN they can give free advice of things to improve upon.
- What’s the most important questions to ask the organisers?Besides logistics – get them to tell you copious amounts of information about the audience!
- What’s the best way to highlight what you have to offer as a speaker?Videotape yourself and post it for others to see!
How do you answer difficult off the cuff questions from the audience?
Know your top 3 points you want to share and bridge back to them. If there is a question you honestly can’t answer on the spot, promise to get back to them with an answer at a later time.
Here is the additional resource on slide design.
We share this resource to help people understand how a deck should be designed. By no means does it take the place of great resources like Presentation Zen or Slideology, but it provides a “table stakes” look at what we would approve a speaker to use or not.