Kaizen: relentless improvement
When I think of becoming a better presenter, I think of four key areas:
- Content: the raw material
- Organization: how you put it together to make sense
- Presentation: the visual, auditory, and kinesthetic aspects
- Delivery and interaction: the performance
All four areas can be separately and deliberately practised to help you build your skill.
CONTENT: Writing journal entries, blog posts, and articles is an excellent way to deliberately practice building content. Here are some ideas for finding content worth sharing:
- Think about what you’ve learned that other people need to know.
- Read lots of books on a topic. Summarize them and add your own insights.
- List the top challenges someone might face in a particular area (ex: facilitating meetings) and how to deal with them. Illustrate this with stories.
- List five to ten unexpected tips on a topic and illustrate them with stories.
- Come up with a creative metaphor combining two or three very different things. Illustrate.
- Collect interesting statistics, stories, pictures, and videos.
- Learn something new. Share it.
- Take a cliche and change it. Illustrate.
- Pick a famous person with interesting quotes. Apply to a different field.
- Blog. Review your archive to find things that people find useful. Revise or summarize in a presentation or blog post.
- Pick an action you want people to take. Assemble stories and tips to help them change.
ORGANIZATION: A good talk hangs together well. It’s of one piece. It flows. It’s memorable.
- Read books. Watch other presentations, TV commercials, etc. Look for the framework and sequencing of ideas.
- Take an existing talk (even by someone else). Restructure it. Find the key message. Cut out all the things that don’t support the key message.
- Take your raw material. Pick out key elements.
- Play with finding acronyms and mnemonics.
- Play with structure: location, alphabet, time, category, hierarchy.
PRESENTATION: There are so many ways to express ideas.
- Watch other presentations for inspiration. Slideshare and TED have many great examples. Take notes on what you like and don’t like.
- Develop a visual vocabulary by looking at ads, photography, videos, and so on.
- Keep an ear open for vivid language and imaginative metaphors.
- Experiment with different ways to look at an idea. The Back of the Napkin has a great framework (SQVID).
- Turn blog posts and book reviews into presentations and share them on sites like Slideshare.
- Listen to and tell stories.
- Read design books.
- Look for great data visualizations and ways to make statistics come alive.
DELIVERY AND INTERACTION:
- Watch other presenters. Take notes on what you like and don’t like. Every presentation (even a boring one) is a learning opportunity.
- Listen to speeches, radio programs, and other examples.
- Attend webinars to see how they handle the backchannel.
- Read speaking books.
- Stop thinking of people as audience. Think of them as participants who can teach you a lot. Experiment with ways to involve them and learn from them.
- Practise and reflect.
- Record yourself and review it. Build on your strengths.
See also: <a href=”http://sachachua.com/wp/2009/04/seven-tips-for-making-better-presentations/”>Another seven tips for making better presentations</a>