Don't let your Speakers go over Time

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Of the many tips, recommendations, and best practices for delivering a presentation, the one rule that is not up for discussion and not meant to be bent or broken, ever, is this one: Don't go over time. Nothing you can say or do will be worth the inconvenience that overrunning your allotted time would bring to your audience, the speaker who comes after you, the organisers, and the event as a whole.

Not going over time is mostly the speaker's responsibility, but the organisers of an event also share some responsibility in making this work.

Stupid Things Presenters do

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Let's not talk about finding your core message or bullet points for a moment, but look at the performance, i.e. things presenters do while they are giving their presentation in front of an audience.

Here are three things I noticed that the presenters themselves were probably not even aware of but that are somewhat irritating for their audience.

Baby Steps (towards improving your presentation)

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When being asked for feedback on a presentation, I sometimes find myself in the awkward position where what I really want to recommend is for them to start over from scratch, yet that is not an option given the context. These are usually the sorts of presentations that have lots and lots of bullet points; they often have great content, but the way in which that content is being presented could be greatly improved.

With these presentations in mind, I tried to come up with a series of baby steps; simple improvements that can be made to the presentation. They won't turn it into great a presentation just like that, but they will make it a little better - and, hopefully, also give the presenter some ideas on how to make future presentations better.

Avoiding the Lectern

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At a recent event with three speakers, it was good to see how all three of them tried to avoid standing behind the lectern so that they could better connect with their audience. Trying to do so provided them with new challenges, though.

Don't blame the tools, teach people how to use them

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According to an article that was shared a lot recently, yet another CEO decided to ban the use of PowerPoint in his company. He's not the first CEO to have that idea and he won't be the last. But, as in all the other cases, what he does is only fighting symptoms, not causes. In other words: He's blaming the tool for being used incorrectly.