This week my classes have been doing project presentations. I've have repeatedly given the same feed back. I thought it would be helpful to share some of the advice I shared with my students this week. Being able to communicate effectively with your audience is a skill that you will continue to use throughout your life.
You can leverage a good presentation in to a number of things. Possibly a job, a college acceptance, even a better deal on a car. So here are some things you can keep in mind the next time you need to share your message.
1. Don't Read It
I don't know how many times I had to say this. When you are reading a presentation you send a number of poor messages. First you say, I don't really know my material, so I need to refer back to my presentation to tell you what it is about. Secondly, you tell us to stop paying attention to you, because I can just read along and get the same take away. It was so refreshing to have groups that knew their material and didn't have to read their entire presentation.
2. Don't Make Others Look Bad
Maybe this is just a problem at the high school level, but I doubt it. When you come in and start pointing fingers at the people who are responsible for you not being prepared, before you even start. When you try to point out what someone else is doing wrong; it does NOT make you look better. One student would not stop berating his group that I finally said, "If this was a job presentation, I would fire you." Trust that your audience and the people that matter know who worked hard and who didn't.
3. Be Specific
These particular presentations were about choosing a community or school problem and creating a plan of action that would address said problem. Make sure your presentation is not too general. Let's take for example you want a better price on a car. Tell the salesperson what you are willing to pay, don't just say the price needs to come down. At your next job interview, give specific examples of how you have collaborated with different people in the past, don't just say your a team player or you work well with others.
4. Have Evidence
When ever you can back up your argument with evidence that argues your point, use it. I love to see your opinions, but show me some factual evidence that what you are saying to me is true.
5. Check Your Facts
This seems obvious, but the internet is filled with useless and made up information. Is the chart your inserting from Google Images, an actual chart or an example of how to create a graphic. There's nothing worse than being in the middle of a presentation and realizing your information doesn't make sense.
Five seems like a good, number, a good place to stop. Next time you have the opportunity to present, enjoy, and crush it. Each time you speak you send a message, think about the message you want to send.