Making Presentations

Professional PresenceWhat did Charlotte do wrong?

Think back to the 4 goals of giving a presentation. Did she remember them all?  While she prepared well for the actual presentation, she failed to establish her credibility with the audience (see goal 2 for giving a successful presentation). Several things factored into this. 1) Since she was a last minute substitution, her info was not included in the conference promotional materials or programs. 2) She did not give her bio to a room host or someone else to read before she began her presentation. 3) Charlotte did not explain her own background when she took the stage. She may have been well known in her field on the west coast, but in Chicago she was still new. Thus, all the more important to make sure everyone in the audience understood her credentials and area of expertise.

Professional PresenceWhere did the conference organizer go wrong?

The conference organizer needed to have a plan in place for communicating information on last minute speaker substitutes. This is always necessary at a gathering of any size. Also, there should always be a room host or moderator not only to assist with technical glitches, etc. but to introduce the speakers. Speakers often feel awkward (or forget) to tout their own background and credentials. When read by someone else, a bio carries a lot more weight.

Professional PresenceWhat lessons can you apply?

Remember that every presentation is essentially a story being told. Provide the audience with background on who you are and why you’re there. Also do your homework. By understanding your audience, you’ll know what is important to them. Further, ask for feedback throughout the presentation to ensure that the audience is engaged. This will help them focus and, hopefully, relate to your message.

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