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I’m still buzzing from the first client teleconference presentation I made. I gave a brief overview of Web 2.0 and universities.
Here’s what I learned because I did it well:
- Energy and excitement really helps. I focused on topics I was passionate about, picked highlights that I wanted to share, and told myself not to be intimidated by the collective IQ in an audience I couldn’t see.
- Standing up is good. It makes it easier to project more energy and pretend to be giving an actual presentation. This also makes it easier to gesture.
- If you need to use the handset, use your hand to hold it against your ear instead of scrunching your neck. This not only saves you from a sore neck, but also allows you to improve your breathing. If you have a noise-cancelling headset, use that instead. I don’t have one of those yet.
- If you’re running out of preparation time, practice your opening and closing, run through middle parts quickly, then go back and practice enough of your opening to give you a confident start. It’s important to make a good first impression. Not only does the primacy effect mean that people will remember the beginning of your presentation more than the following parts, but a strong start will give you confidence and make the rest of the presentation flow. A strong close that recaps important points and energizes people is also very helpful. Things in the middle will come to you once you get into the flow.
- Upload the presentation to Sametime Unyte instead of sharing your screen. Not only will this be faster for your audience, but you’ll also be less worried about random things popping up. (It’s still a good idea to set Sametime to Do-Not-Disturb or something similar, though.)
- Call in and start recording the Unyte presentation at least ten minutes before the start of your session. Things get really hectic right before the presentation. It’s easier to spend 10 minutes just waiting on the phone than to try to remember to set up all of your recording while the organizer’s announcing you.
- Check your social network for resources. Cattail was really handy. =) Also, thanks go to Stephen Perelgut for links and de-stressing!
Here’s what I can do to make things even better:
- Bring a glass of water. No stage doesn’t mean no stage fright.
- Create an activity template to make sure I remember to do everything. I’m starting to believe in Activities – I used it as a last-minute checklist for myself.
- Make sure I get a quick brief from the organizer as early as possible. I went down the wrong path with my first draft. Fortunately, the client rep briefed me last Tuesday, so I spent the rest of the day (and the night) hurriedly revising the presentation. It came out nicely.
- Reserve a room. I hadn’t reserved a room because I was planning to take one of the smaller non-bookable rooms, but all of those rooms were full. Moving to the “think bar” near the windows didn’t help. I should book a conference room. Even if the room is more space than I need, using that space is better than distracting more than six people. This will also minimize distractions from people asking me to quiet down. ;)
- Keep a library of materials. I need a good system for organizing slides, images, stories, and so on.