I know that is a lot of Pleases in the title, but this is important.
If you are speaking at a conference or event here are five Pleases to keep in mind:
Please do not use PowerPoint or Keynote slide decks where the slides all have the same template and are packed full of text in 12 or 14 font. The fewer words the better. The smallest font size you should use is 32. The bigger the room, the bigger the font. Unless you are mandated by your company or organization your company name and logo do not need to be on every slide. Create a memorable and engaging experience for people and they will remember you.
Please do not read from your slides. The participants can read. If they cannot read then the words on the slide are of no value to then anyway. They cannot however, read and listen to you at the same time. If you have a quote or concise, important piece of information on the slide be quiet and let them read it themselves, then talk about it. Using slides as a teleprompter is offensive to the audience. What is more offensive is having them read what is on your slide out loud.
Please spend time cutting down on your content so it fits the allotted time. It is disrespectful to show up with the same presentation you use for an 8 hour class when you only have 2 or 4 hours. If you do run out of time to get through all your slides, which happens to all of us, then jump ahead or dump slides on the break. Please (I slipped in an extra please) do not blast through slides telling the audience that you do not have time to cover that material. Print yourself off a handout with 9 slides per page and number every slide. This is a reference sheet for you and not a handout for the class. If you realize you need to jump ahead simply type in the number of the slide you want to go to and hit enter. The audience should never know that you jumped ahead.
Please do not use the time you have to sell a longer program. If you want to briefly mention your longer program near the end of the presentation, or give the audience the opportunity to sign up for additional resources and information on this and other programs that is fine. If every 5 minutes you are saying, “In my longer program we would have time to cover this in more detail.” you are selling, not serving.
Please take breaks every 50 to 60 minutes. It is cruel to make people sit for 2 to 4 hours without giving them a break. Saying, “You are all adults and can get up and use the washroom whenever you need to.” does not cut it. People are concerned they will miss critical pieces of information, or that they will be singled out and heckled if they get up to go to the bathroom. The fear for many presenters is that if you give them a break they may not come back. If your presentation is informative and engaging they will come back. If they do not come back it has nothing to do with the break, you were not giving them what they needed in the presentation.
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