I was forwarded an inquiry this morning regarding an article on how executives can improve their presentation skills. The writer was looking for some tips. Since I have seen thousands of executives give presentations, I jotted down a few thoughts.
I plan on writing a full article based on these tips. Until then, I hope this helps.
As an executive speaker, please DO NOT:
1. Stand behind a lectern. Basically, you are standing behind a wall that separates you from the audience.
2. Read your presentation. We can all read. I don’t need to be read to like I was a toddler. Just e-mail the presentation.
3. Try to make jokes when you are not funny. Humor is a powerful tool. Please do not make offensive jokes, bad jokes, jokes that exclude.
4. Use business clichés. I don’t want to hear about synergy, cross-functional team environment or a paradigm shift. As soon as I hear someone say these things, I know they are full of it.
5. Give me tired and used examples of other company’s success. Nordstrom’s, Disney and Starbucks are all great companies. I got it. Do a little more research and uncover something I haven’t heard 1,000 times.
6. Overuse PowerPoint. A few key words and phrases are all you need. I don’t need the history of your organization and the theory to global peace all on one slide.
As an executive speaker, please DO the following:
1. Connect with your audience. Speak to the audience and reach out to them from the stage.
2. Move around the stage a little. Don’t just stand there behind the lectern.
3. Speak from the heart.
4. Understand that you are going to make mistakes. Nobody cares. I would rather you be real, make mistakes and have fun with them, then read a boring presentation full of business clichés.
5. Have something to say. We all know where we have been. We know where we are. Tell us where we are going. The rest you can send in an e-mail.
6. Stay on time. Nobody wants to sit through your business cliché filled presentation as it runs 30 minutes over. I want to use the restroom. I want to have lunch.
7. Have a sound check before the presentation. Learn how to use the microphone. The time to do both is not during your presentation. “Is the microphone on?”
Finally, I want to give you a link to a great review of my book, Make the Right Choice:
Have a great week.