Keep your presentation on target and compelling by asking these yes-or-no questions before you walk into the meeting.
Each time you give a presentation, you're putting your career on the line. Few things are worse than making a fool of yourself in public–and few things better than a closing round of appause.
A while back, I discussed what makes a great presentation with presentation guru Terri Sjodin and Stephen M. Kosslyn, a psychology professor who's studied how audiences perceive presentations.
Based on those conversations, here's a yes-or-no checklist to ensure your presentation is the best it can be. If the answer to almost all of these questions is an emphatic "yes," you'll probably knock them dead.
- Have you prepared thoroughly by researching the topic?
- Are you enthusiastic about your message?
- Are you confident that the presentation is on target?
- Are you prepared to answer likely questions?
- Have you rehearsed until you're comfortable?
- Have you selected a slide background that's unobtrusive?
- Does your cover slide correctly identify the event?
- Do your slides highlight what's really important?
- Are your graphics understandable (rather than confusing)?
- Does each slide contain text than can be read in less than 30 seconds?
- Did you use a simple font that's easy to read?
- Can every detail of every slide be read from the back of the room?
- Have you eliminated UPPER-CASE, underlined, and italicized text?
- Does your opening statement capture attention?
- Does your presentation persuade rather than lecture?
- Are your statements and opinions supported by evidence?
- Have you removed the biz-blab and jargon?
- Will the presentation use the audience's time effectively?
- Are your anecdotes or analogies vivid and memorable?
- Is there a clear close or call to action at the end?
If you've only answered "yes" to a few of these: It's time to go back to work.
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