Have you ever sat through a presentation where the presenter read the PowerPoint slides word for word? I mean…they read EVERYTHING and added NOTHING else. If so, do you remember thinking, “if I’d gotten the slides beforehand, I wouldn’t even have to be sitting here”? I can’t possibly be alone on this one!
Never read your presentation word for word. Perhaps you’re tempted to do it because you think that’ll ensure that you don’t miss any important points. What really happens, however, is that the audience stops listening. A voice that reads is almost always less interesting to listen to than a voice that doesn’t. When you read to yourself, do you do so in an animated and engaging voice? Didn’t think so.
What to do if you have a lot to say and want to make sure that you say it all?
While practicing your speech, make a list of topics and beneath each topic, a list of bullet points. Then practice your speech until you have all the topics and bullet points down cold. For instance, if I had to give a speech on a project’s progress, my topics might be:
- Tasks already done
- Tasks to be done
- Issues & proposed solutions
The bullet points might be:
- Tasks already done – marketing assessment, R&D assessment, quality assessment, etc.
- Tasks to be done – product requirements specifications, risk analysis, design & development plan, etc.
- Issues – lack of operations representative for project (solution: request an ops rep from the appropriate department), unanticipated cost for legal assessment (solution: present options to do the assessment in house or outsource it), etc.
- Costs – cost performance index, earned value, present value, actual costs
- Time – schedule performance index, lack of operations rep has delayed operations assessment, no operation assessment has delayed timeline by X days, etc.
I’d practice my presentation until I had covered all the bullet points in the topics without missing any. I wouldn’t rely on reading PowerPoint slides or note cards to get me through the presentation. I’d even make sure that I didn’t have enough text on my slides so I wouldn’t be enticed into reading them verbatim.
So give this method a try. And say goodbye to note cards forever!