Five Things That Anyone Can Do To Improve Their Conference Presentation

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Whether you are an experienced conference presenter or you are talking to an audience for the first time ever, there are always things that you will be able to do to improve. Giving a great presentation is more of an art than a science, but there are a few things that everyone can do to impress their audience and give a talk. Here are five ways that you can easily improve your next presentation with a few small changes.

  1. Get a handle on the technology you are going to be using

Virtually every presenter at a conference will utilise some form of technology during their talk – whether it’s something as simple as a laptop with slides on, or as high tech as an audience response system. No matter what you are using it is vital that you understand how to get the most out of it. If you turn up on the day and just try to wing it, things can quickly go badly wrong.

Make sure you carry out a dry run beforehand so that you are completely prepared for how the technology is going to work. And also remember to have a backup plan in place in case it malfunctions in any way – for example, if your presentation relies on slides, ensure you have a second script to read from that doesn’t use the slides for help.

  1. Use slides the right way

If you are making use of a Keynote or PowerPoint slideshow for your presentation, it is important to understand that the slides can make a huge difference to the success of your talk. There are some rules that you need to follow to ensure that your slides complement the presentation, rather than overshadow it or confuse the audience.

The first thing to note is that your slides should not contain too many words. You are not writing the script for the audience to read – it needs to reinforce what you are saying. It is much better for presentations to be image-heavy rather than text heavy.

  1. Practice in front of an audience

It is vital that any presentation should be practiced in front of an audience before you try it out at the conference. The issue here is that even if you are a confident public speaker you need to understand where the natural pauses are. For example, if you practice a speech a certain way you might pause for laughter but not get any, or move on quickly from a slide when an audience needs thinking time.

Practicing in front a smaller crowd is a great way to understand where the pauses need to be and whether the talk flows as it should. This isn’t something you will be able to do yourself, so enlist your family to listen or get a group of colleagues to critique it for you.

  1. Don’t be tempted to over-edit

It can be very tempting in the days before your presentation to constantly go back to the material and check it over to ensure that it is good enough. This is especially true when you are practicing it regularly and beginning to get tired of some of the lines. The important thing to note here is that once your presentation is ready, you should not be tempted to edit it too much.

Tweaking it constantly will not only make it more difficult for you to remember but it will also frustrate you as you’ll lose track of the way you think it works best. Once your presentation is finished, leave it alone.

  1. Leave time for a Q&A section

When many people present they are given a time allocation that they need to fill, and end up using the whole time on them talking. But this can leave a problem that there is no space for a question and answer section afterwards. It is always best to provide time for your audience to ask questions and clarify points with it – it might seem like you have covered all of the bases in your presentation but it may be the case that you need to explain a few things more clearly.

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