"As a presenter, how do you make sure you’re ready for the 'big leagues' and poised to make a positive impact in a high-stakes environment?">

This question came from Carolyn, a long-time client, as we were reviewing 100+ speakers at an annual trade show — a marquee event for this leading industry association. Poring over evaluations from the previous year illuminated the high stakes nature of these presentations— and some past speakers were simply not prepared to meet them.

So Carolyn asked me to deliver a webinar that would provide the tools the presenters needed to step up their game and win over this important audience. The “lessons learned” from reading those attendee evaluations are by no means unique to Carolyn’s industry, so I wanted to share some of them with you here.

Lesson #1:Your audience decided to attend your presentation based on its description in the event program or other marketing materials. This description becomes your de facto promise to meet (and exceed) those expectations, so do everything you can to ensure its value to the attendees. Make certain that you’re on the same page with the event host when it comes to content, tone and focus; this way you know you’ll be promoted accurately to avoid a disconnect with your audience. And this level of due diligence will help assure that all the presentations offer maximum impact and value.

Lesson #2: Less is More There’s a limited amount of information we can remember and process. We've all been there, sitting through a presentation so chock-full of information that we don’t know where to begin or how to digest it all. Your job is to help your listeners avoid information overload by identifying your core message, then speaking for as long as it takes to communicate that message. No more, no less. For help in honing your message, review our four-step C.O.D.E. process.

Lesson#3: Be Original When you’re in front of an audience, are you creating an experience that challenges your listeners to think, discuss, and even question what’s being said? Interactivity — from asking powerful questions to soliciting volunteers — is the key to keeping things fresh and involving your audience. Try the five interactive techniques outlined in our last newsletter.

Lesson #4:Manage Your Time Time management is a huge concern for first-time presenters and veteran speakers alike. There’s nothing worse than watching presenters rush through their remaining material when they realize the clock just got away from them. To allow adequate time for your presentation, do the math. Assuming you have a 60-minute presentation:

* Subtract 5 minutes from the start time & end time to allow for introductions & settling in of the audience.

* Allow 10-15 minutes for questions and discussion.

* You’re left with roughly 35 minutes for your content

Remember: The way you think about, prepare for and execute a presentation can have a tremendous effect on its ability to influence and motivate your audience. With a well-planned approach that follows the strategies outlined above, you’ll be ready to deliver your material with confidence…and to bask in high praise from even the most demanding audience.

Author's Bio: 

A strategic communication advisor, Stephanie Scotti helps people deliver winning presentation where the stakes are high . . . and results matter Drawing on her 25 years of coaching experience and 8 years of teaching presentation skills for Duke University, Stephanie understands what it takes to transform information into knowledge and knowledge into action that achieves results.

Stephanie has provided presentation coaching to over 3,000 individuals in professional practices, Fortune 500 companies, the highest levels of government officials, and international business executives.

An active member of National Speakers Association and an award-winning leadership professional, She also volunteers as a speaker or communications coach for non-profits such as the Red Cross and the Governing Institute of New Jersey. Stephanie holds a Bachelor’s in Speech Communications & Education and a Master’s in Organizational Communications & Business.