I'm speaking at the TechSoup New Zealand conference next week. A prospect which both excites and daunts me. Full of ideas I started on the presentation with a hiss and a roar. I was pretty happy with it when I did a first run through with my partner ... who tore it to pieces ... in a good way.
Presentation practice ...
... makes perfect!
Where did I go wrong?
I try to run through a presentation at least three times before giving it and it can change quite a lot through that refinement process. Nevertheless it always comes as a shock when you realise you are on the wrong track. Luckily I have someone who is good at redirecting me.
So where did I go wrong? At the risk of putting too many cliches in close proximity, I had to think of the following old chestnuts.
- Have a plan.
- Keep it simple (and user friendly).
- Stick to my knitting.
- Don't reinvent the wheel.
Have a plan
Taking the time to write a plan for any communications activity (eg, presentation, website, media release, brochure, social media posts) is a good idea. It enables you to focus on what's important and ensure you are relevant. In my case, writing down the purpose, audience and key messages was very helpful.
Keep it simple (and user friendly)
I found myself trying to be clever (introducing concepts I'm interested in but not an expert on) not being clear and, dare I say it, using jargon! When I advise people on website usability I encourage clarity, plain english and the 'less is more' approach. The same principles apply for presentations.
Stick to my knitting
I'm a website usability consultant, not a 'digital transformation' consultant or a management consultant. I don't have to solve the problems of a sector in one fell swoop ... or presentation. People are interested in how to make their websites more user friendly and I can help with that.
Don't reinvent the wheel
I also had forgotten that I had material from past presentations that had worked well and could be repurposed.
Thankfully now my presentation is in much better shape and I'll be more confident giving it ... after a few more run throughs!