I think of a formal presentation as the product of many different details having to do with content, preparation, delivery, visuals, movement, connection with the audience, voice, tone, and on and on. I visualize each of these important things as a colorful thread, woven carefully together with all of the other threads within a large and intricate tapestry, resulting in a beautiful picture for the viewer to appreciate and enjoy.
How can we remember all of the threads that make up a presentation tapestry? My STORIES acronym may be helpful. See what you think!
STORIES – A design for thinking about great presentations
- Who is my audience?
- What specific content and detail must I include to explain my story to this audience?
- Is my purpose to teach or to present?
- Starting and ending on time
- Pacing the material so there is no rushing
- Speaking at a normal speed
- Backward buildup to distribute the content within the given time
- Logical sequencing of the parts of the story
- Moving from general to specific, and from problem to solution
- Practicing aloud – alone; in front of a friend/classmate/colleague
- Mastering the first minute of the presentation to set the stage for the entire talk
- Practicing with the laptop, the remote, the visuals, the movement
- Posture, hands, gestures, eye contact
- Connecting with the entire audience – front to back, side to side
- Answering questions with clarity, precision, respect
- Volume; ends of utterances and clarity
- Authenticity of style and delivery
- Confidence and enthusiasm
- How many? And what can be said without visuals?
- Smooth transitions
- Crystal clear and easy to navigate from the point of view of the audience member