Breathing, Jumping, and Storytelling Enhance Presentations
I love to give talks and jump (no pun intended, read on to see why!) at the chance, but I know many people who do not gleefully anticipate giving a talk. Tonight I spoke at the Greater Boston Chapter of ASTD, and was one of a number of presenters speaking on Effective Presentations Skills. In this fantastic session, I learned a lot from the other presenters, most notably (this is off the top of my head) to breathe deeply to be calmer, to jump in place repeatedly (before a presentation, not on stage!), to have a conversation not give a presentation, to crave feedback to improve presentation skills, to use humor at the start of a presentation, and to use storytelling to make presentations more compelling and memorable.
The last one comes from me, and I learned the benefits of storytelling from teaching online. Storytelling at a Distance goes into many of the reasons why storytelling is effective and, personally, I have more fun and am more relaxed telling a story than addressing bullet points on a slide. While storytelling is generally what a presenter does, it is often beneficial to elicit stories from the audience to make a point that resonates with the audience (or should I say the people I am having a conversation with?) However, it is helpful to have a plant in the audience in case no one volunteers or if you want to have a sense in advance of what someone will say or how long they will talk for.
Finally, I learned last night that, when in PowerPoint, “B” turns the screen black and “W” turns it white for those times when you want to hide your slides but not put everyone in the dark. I can’t wait for my next talk so I can try that and the other tips I received.