Why stand up presentations are your golden opportunity

Stand up presentations are your golden opportunity. Probably. Yet most people don’t willingly volunteer for them. For some they are one of the most stressful things you ever have to do.

However, if you think about it, everyone of any significance does presentations : TV presenters, actors & actresses, rock stars, politicians and leading business people. They all communicate their message using the medium of presenting. So it is probably worth trying to master this skill. And of course, once you have, you stand out from the millions who never will.

3 tips to help you become a first class presenter

3 tips to help you become a first class presenter

Here are 3 tips.

Identify what your audience wants

The most important thing about your presentation is to work out what your audience’s interest is and what they want to find out about. Always aim it at them. Don’t go into too much detail, but keep it focused on them. It it’s a work presentation, use some facts and some figures by all means, but extract the conclusions – don’t go into great detail.

If it’s a social or hobby based presentation, make it light hearted where possible and entertaining. You can always ask for help from others if necessary.

Know your stuff

Once you’ve written your presentation, rehearse it, by standing and going through it at least 3 times. This will start to get you familiar with the words, and the style. The more you’ve rehearsed it, and know your stuff, the more confident you’ll feel when you finally stand up to speak.

Time your presentation

Once you’ve rehearsed it, run through it again, and time yourself while you’re delivering it in a room on your own. This way you will know how long it will take. If you’ve been given 20 minutes in a busy agenda to do your presentation, then aim for around 15 minutes of material. That will allow 5 minutes or so for comments, questions etc. After all you probably want to stimulate debate. Even if you’ve got 30 minutes of great material, cut it back radically. They won’t want to listen for 30 minutes.

I always find it is easy to get resentful of people who go on too long. They may be stealing some of your break time, or of course one person overrunning means others suddenly have less time. It’s not really fair is it?

Your audience easily gets bored and switches off.

So find out how long the host wants you to speak for and then ensure you fit the allocation. Everyone will appreciate it.

Associated Learning Systems is a business dedicated to helping individuals improve their communication skills and business performance through life learning. While we don’t currently offer products on how to do stand-up presentations, we have experience in this area, so if you need help to do stand up presentations, contact us via e-mail at info@associatedlearningsystems.co.uk 


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9 top tips for stand up presentations

Some top tips for stand up presentations. Well 9 in fact.

The day has come. You’re due to be making a presentation at work soon, and you’re looking round the internet for some inspiration – yes ?! There are many sources of information, and it time well spent to have a look around and prepare yourself for what you are about to do. Up to a point the more time you spend at the planning stage the better.  

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You WILL be successful - good planning is key

Let’s consider 9 top tips for presenting at work.  

Focus on your audience. In other words, think about what they want to hear. Not so much on what you want to say, but on what they want from your presentation. For instance you might have 122 ideas on how you could improve the effectiveness of the work process you’re presenting. However they almost certainly will have lost the will to live before you get to number 47, so decide on 19 innovative or refreshing or key ideas. And just go with that.

Think about who they are and what they want. Are you out to persuade, entertain or inform? Fit your preparation around this.

  1. Don’t overrun. Time yourself & add a bit of time on for questions, interruptions etc. Nothing kills a good speech faster than going over your alloted time. And heaven forbid if you start to encroach on their coffee break or toilet break time. Or worse still their time for a ciggy! Practising your presentation a few times in advance and timing it should take care of this.
  2. Practice. You do this to make it look as natural and fluent on the day as possible. It will also calm you, knowing and feeling confident with the structure of your presentation. It means you’ve only got the audience to concentrate on, on the day.
  3. Use the minimum of notes you feel comfortable with. You want to engage with your audience as much as possible, so by all means take text with you, but you really want to just be prompted by key words or phrases in your presentation. And whatever you do, don’t look down and read passages to your audience. It will make them feel embarrassed for you. This is not good. 
  4. Dress to impress but feel comfortable. Your choice of clothing lets the audience know you are taking this seriously. Consider what you are going to wear to project the image you want them to have of you.
  5. Think about what you admire or like in a presenter. This is a great guide. I would hope that it includes such chararcteristics as someone who seems natural, smiles a fair bit, and makes strong eye contact with the audience. In addition, someone who uses a bit of humour gets more from the audience. 
  6. It is often said that there are 3 stages to a presentation. First tell them what you’re gonna tell them, then tell them, and then finally as you finish tell them what you told them. Even the BBC news is structured like this. First they give you the headlines, then they tell you the stories. Finally they finish with that phrase “now for the main stories again……” If it works for them, it is good enough for you and me!
  7. Aim for a powerful start. You want to grab their attention quickly and get them fully engaged. “Ok, in the next session, I’m going to demonstrate how you can tell 40+ things about someone in the first 6 words. Oh and by the way, that is someone you’ve never spoken to before and you can’t even see! 40+ things.” This is the start to one of our training modules.
  8. If you’re there as a guest speaker do not sell your business. However do show them what an expert you are and that will do all the selling for you anyway.
  9. Use anecdotes or worked examples where you can. It lifts your presentation and makes it easier for your audience to relate to. “So for the average person this would mean an increase of £15 per month” Don’t just talk percentages. Make it real.

There are of course many more top tips than this, but again thinking of you the reader we’re conscious of the fact that you’re busy and don’t want loads of information – just some key things you can use. I wish you well with your forthcoming presentation!

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