If we all were great presenters the world would be a better place

This may be a bit of a digression from the usual on our own system, but some ideas are just so important…

How to present…well.

It is not an easy thing, but being a good presenter can be a powerful tool. And in this information age we live in there are countless tools available, for free. In fact, some of the best give their ideas away because they can’t stand to see any more bad presentations.

It starts with preparation, and a lot of it. Garr Reynolds gives us plenty of help in this area, here, with ten steps to guide our planning. An excerpt from step No. 7, Dakara nani?, which roughly translates into:

So what?” — always be asking yourself this very important, simple question. If you can’t really answer that question, then cut that bit of content out of your talk.

Your presence during a presentation is key. Mr. Reynolds strikes again with ten more great tips to help with delivery.

If I had only one tip to give, it would be to be passionate about your topic and let that enthusiasm come out. Yes, you need great content. Yes, you need professional, well designed visuals. But it is all for naught if you do not have a deep, heartfelt belief in your topic.

And finally, the software program which has become the crutch of most presentations–and make your presentation an instant failure even if you have prepared well and are a competent deliverer, PowerPoint.

Seth Godin has a great post titled Really Bad PowerPoint, and how to avoid it with four components of a good presentation. Mr. Reynolds provides ten more tips on this subject.

And putting it all together, Guy Kawasaki, who listens to many a presentation, works hard to evangelize the 10/20/30 Rule: “It’s quite simple: a PowerPoint presentation should have ten slides, last no more than twenty minutes, and contain no font smaller than thirty points.”

Here’s Mr. Kawasaki on the 10/20/30 Rule:

And the best way to get better is to learn from others who present well. The TED website is a great opportunity to do just that, TED is a yearly conference that stands for Technology, Entertainment, Design where individuals come together to give “Inspired talks by the world’s greatest thinkers and doers.” There is some really good stuff here.

For tips on a regular basis, Mr. Reynolds’s Presentation Zen blog is great.

OK, so great presentations take a good amount of time to do. But it’s worth it. As an audience member, please, please take the time.

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