As someone who is not a natural at presentations, I have had to work to improve. Hat tip to Tony Vidler for this excellent list of presentation tips (see this link). From that list, and with a couple of my own added in, my favourites are:
- Know your subject - I quite like answering questions, because in my field, because of all the data I pull together for quarterly reporting on the life and health industry, I usually have a good general knowledge of the subject, and at least know where to find the rest. Nothing beats covering the ground well in order to present effectively or serve on a panel discussion.
- Work out key messages with the event organiser - the chances of success are far greater if you are going to fit in with an overall theme. It can eliminate the need for a detailed introduction, and allow you to focus - great for avoiding covering too much (a mistake I am prone to making).
- Memory skills - memory is a skill which can be developed, and for the crucial first five minutes, and other important passages of the presentation, then learning what you want to say and being able to recall it accurately, is a valuable contributor to overall performance. Reading up on memory is a great way to start. Look up 'Moonwalking with Einstein' a whimsically titled book about a journalist who learned some amazing memory tricks.