Mark Twain, that great American author, charges us to realise the importance of presentation cues when he reflects that while the right words are effective, ‘no word was ever as effective as a rightly timed pause.’ Although it is important to invest time in a well-written and carefully constructed presentation, without effective planning and preparation for its delivery, your presentation is doomed to be forgotten in a gravesite of presentation blunders.
Those of us within the AV industry can attest to the importance of presentation delivery, including the need to understand the technology and tools that work to assist the quality of your presentation. With this in mind, we’ve compiled our top five tips for making the most of your presentation tools for a keynote speech that engages as much as it inspires.
1. Lecture Position
A common problem of effective presentation delivery comes back to spatial awareness. When delivering a speech to ten people or to thousands, it is important to remember your place on stage. No doubt we have all experienced the frustration of trying to look around a distracted speaker to the slide notes displaying behind them. Avoid standing in front of the screen – for obvious reasons – but equally, try to avoid hiding any part of the screen while you move around the stage.
2. Speak into the Microphone
One major hurdle to the delivery of an effective presentation is a matter of microphone handling. When it comes to Lectern Mics, whose single or dual mics are placed atop the lectern facing its speaker, typically we see presenters either speaking too close or too far away from the microphone or standing to the side. In either instance, the sound is distorted and the speech becomes hard to interpret.
Similarly, when using a Handheld Mic, the speaker often holds the microphone too low, making their voice distant, or too close, making their voice blaze and reverberate through the room. If they hold the mic off to the side, speech is distorted and unclear. Proper use of the microphone ensures a smooth and pleasurable presentation for all.
3. Keep your eye centered toward the back of the room
This is something that can be easily overlooked on account of human nature. When delivering a presentation, it can feel quite normal to look to the front row with little consideration for those toward the middle and back of the room. This is made worse with the inclusion of a raised stage that naturally readjusts your gaze downwards. A quick tip to overcome this is to set your gaze on the back of the room. Doing this will ensure you capture the attention of those hidden behind, while leaving those at the front feeling equally engaged in the conversation.
4. Speak in a normal voice
The decibel of your voice can have a significant impact on the outcome of your presentation. Many presenters feel the need to overcompensate for the size of some auditoriums by shouting into the microphone to project their voice. What this overlooks is the ability of the room; both in its design and in the technology used, to register sound naturally without you changing a thing. Remember to speak in a normal tone of voice for the best quality delivery.
5. Turn the AV off to finish
Our last tip is an obvious one, but one that we felt we had to include: at the end of your presentation, remember to switch off all technology devices to preserve their life for future presentations to come.