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Tips for optimal presentations

Place yourself into the heads of the audience! (ToM)

  • In the break before your sesssion
    • go to the stage
    • explore the laser pointer
    • explore the slide advances
    • make yourself known to the chair

  • Microphone
    • ideal: a headset (no sound loss when turning your head)
    • otherwise: arrange for steady sound when turning towards the screen
    • no noises on head movement (another advantage of headset)
    • does your dress allow to attach the microphone transmitter somewhere?

  • Read from your script? Memorized? Free presentation?
    • the first 1–3 sentences must be memorized
    • also the last 1–3
    • everything else: free presentation, no reading from script
    • relate to other presentations in same session wherever pertinent to your topic

  • Laser pointer
    • Do not shove it all over the place
    • Don't leave it on continuously
    • Steady yourself by resting the pointing hand on something or with the other hand

  • When using your own computer
    • Energy saver: (set to high performance), NO timed shutoff
    • Keyboard repetition speed: set to 0
    • Trackpad: double click off, scrolling off
    • Remember to pack power supply, video adaptor and laser pointer both before AND after the presentation

  • Agenda: show at beginning, do NOT read it out (“I will begin with the introduction…”), rahter insert it between topics with appropriate highlighting
  • Figures: explain x/y axes first – slowly
  • Errors on slides: If they don't change your message, do NOT mention them. Generally: don't excuse yourself for whatever mistakes you notice
  • Never say “this only shows…” etc. Generally avoid belittling fillers like “quasi”, “just”, “only”.
  • In the German “Zeit” there were frequent nice tips [1,2,3]. I especially liked
    • Find your voice
      Nervousness tends to cause us to raise pitch, sounding squeaky. Find your comfortable pitch like so: Close eyes, think of something beautiful (e.g. a beatific flower), and make a comfortable “mmmhhhh”. That is your natural voice.
    • Find something to hold on to:
      Select a few positive targets (the smiling girls in the second row, the friend at back left). So you build a sympathetic audience for yourself.
    • Arriving on stage
      Don´t start right away: Mount the stage, take stand, look into audience and say nothing. These seconds will initially feel like hours, with experience they will help you asserting yourself and they raise expectancy in the audience.

  • 2013-11 gefunden: hübsche Kurzfassung des Buchs “Geile Show!” [PDF] von Oliver Reuther

If you know these rules, you may ignore them ;-)