Tips for First Time Presenters (and Veterans, too!)

Successful AGRiP presentations are roughly 51 percent meaty content and 49 percent entertainment. Your primary responsibility is to deliver relevant, timely, appropriate content. But, you also have to entertain a room full of (busy and sometimes distracted) pooling professionals. The content and delivery of your presentation must be compelling and engaging. AGRiP loves to help its presenters with relevant stories and examples you can weave into your presentation to connect with our audience.

Err on the side of being too advanced. We’d rather hear that your presentation was slightly over an attendee’s knowledge base than too basic for our audience. We don’t want you to “dumb down” any of your content. We stand ready to assist you to make sure you hit the right level and tone of your presentation material.

Establish your knowledge base, without reviewing your resume, right from the start. Start strong and confidently with an industry-specific story or example. Personal history and unrelated introductions are generally less successful with our attendees. Dive right in!

Be mindful of the branding that you use on your slides. Avoid using a large logo on every slide. A small logo in the bottom corner of your slide is acceptable.

Use no more than one slide per minute of speaking. And, even that may be too many.  Our audience prefers to have slides, but too many will garner lower satisfaction with your presentation.

Test slide readability by sitting six feet back from your laptop display. It’s not scientific, but it feels about the same as an audience member seated towards the back of a large room with an 18-foot screen at the front. If you can read your material from six feet back, whatever is on screen is probably big enough. Don’t present slides which you have to introduce by saying “you probably can’t read this, but….”

Always use the microphone. Even if you think your voice projects well, room dynamics and background noise can be a problem for some attendees (not to mention hearing disabilities).

Always repeat questions from the audience. There are two reasons for this: 1) so other audience members can hear the question, and 2) so those listening to the audio or video archived version can hear the question.

Answer a question as best as you can, but don’t linger too long. You only have limited time to field questions. It’s better to offer more detail one-on-one after your presentation than dwell too long on a question with limited interest.

Tell a story. You’re presenting to share your point of view and expertise, but it’s important to connect the dots of your information in a way all attendees can appreciate.  Pools love to learn from one-another. Tell a representative story or use an illustration from your pooling experience.

Double check the A/V system. The quickest way to lose the audience (or your nerves on stage) is to encounter an A/V problem in front of the crowd. Meet the A/V team well in advance, test the microphone, run your presentation, and check your Internet connection.  If there is a problem, it’s better not to dwell on it during the presentation. We provide all materials via a conference app, so even if you can’t get the A/V working, attendees still have your materials available to them.

Watch the clock. One of the most challenging elements of public speaking is time management. There is nothing worse than a speaker that runs over (or under) the allotted time. This takes practice, a stopwatch, and an honest and realistic assessment of how much you can cover during your presentation.