Best thing you can do is join Toastmasters. This is an organization with numerous local clubs where you can practice public speaking skills and recieve constructive feedback from other club members. There are many clubs in Austin TX
The other resource I'd mention is the book "The Presentation Secrets of Steve Jobs". This details how Steve constructs his presentations and how he juggles "slides" with "demos". I would watch Steve's introduction of the iPhone first, then read the book, and then go back and watch the presentation. Best technical demonstration I've ever seen!
Thanks Kevin! I'm checking out the Steve Jobs book and the iphone demo you referenced right now. Very helpful
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We need to resist the urge to fire hose folks with all the great features and functions especial as you reach out to the marketing and sales folks. Focus on the pain points you are resolving, the gain for them, and the “what’s in it for me”.
toastmasters is a good group to join if you want to improve your talking and body language skills while standing in front of crowd. However, nothing beats practice and good honest feedback. There are a couple of things I learnt over time:
- your audience (each individual) is also concerned how they look when you look at them. So don't worry too much as long as you have the basics right.
- when looking at someone in the audience, look just above the eyes - it still feels like eye contact but it's easier for you to move on.
- keep eye contact with everybody (every area) in the audience - you will keep them on the topic and you'll get it when you linger too long on an item
- talk to the audience not to the screen - know your content by heart
- don't worry if you miss a point - keeping the flow is much more important
- have a clear start and ending, tie the ending to the start giving the audience the feeling of a completeness
- if you need a concept paper in your hand, make it a small. A letter size notes paper will create a distraction. Or use a lectern.
- try not to walk constantly from left to right and right to left but be specific in your movement with the current item you are talking about.
- watch some presentations on ted.com - there is quite a range.
From a presentation point of view, there are certain principles that usually work well. The iPhone app 60 presentation tips is a good start. I also agree with Kevin on Steve Jobs. The thing to remember is, he's got charisma and he's got something to say that people want to hear from him.
Hi Cora -
You've already got some great suggestions from everyone here. I was just coaching a co-worker who was presenting to a large roomful of our customers (maybe 70 folks). The two things I focus on when preparing to present:
- Is your content strong? If you have good content, it doesn't matter what the slides look like (font, color, animation, etc). Your laptop can die, and you will still be fine.
- Do you know your stuff? This is different from 'do you know all the answers?' It is OK to not know some answers. But if you are confident about the material you are presenting, you'll be fine.
We just launched our employee community in August. My first training session was attended by our Director of Education so I asked him for some feedback. He suggested using a lesson plan style:
- At the beginning of the session, tell the audience, 'At the end of this session, you should be able to ... [login, search, start a discussion, join a group, etc.]
- Use storytelling. This will help make the lesson relavant.
- At the end, recap what you have covered.
- Get the audience to show what they have learned. Quiz them. 'What is the site URL? How do you login?'
It's helpful to get a sense of some of the day-to-day activities that your audience performs, and then you can tailor your stories to match.
What I am learning about SBS in general is that it is helping people to do activities that they are already performing, such as asking each other for help or sharing information about a project. So, you are not really teaching them how to do a new job function. You are showing them a tool that help them do what they are already doing, but more easily and efficiently.
Hope this is helpful!