If bad presentations were a crime, there would be a lot more people in prison. You’ve been there before, I know because I have too. You’re asked to make a presentation – maybe you only have a few days turn around – and what do you do? If you are like most people, you rifle through your files looking at old presentations for usable content. A few slides from this presentation, a few slides from that presentation. What do you get? Something that is more Frankenstein than Lichtenstein. The good news is it’s easier than ever to put together a fabulous presentation or speech without having an MFA in graphic design or a Masters in Rhetoric. I have to make quite a few presentations as a marketing VP and here a few great resources and tools I discovered that have really helped me up my presentation, speaking and meeting facilitation game:
Graphic facilitation – I’m obsessed with graphic recording and we use it a lot in my organization. Rather than capture meeting notes on standard flip charts (so boring!) , graphic recording uses images to bring the ideas in a meeting to life. There are a number of centers that offer training and it’s a great skill to add to your personal tool kit.
Slideshare.com – I love this site for inspiration. There are some incredibly talented folks out there who are willing to share their best ideas with you for free (just remember to give credit where credit is due). This site is searchable by key word for thousands of eye-catching presentations. I surf this regularly looking for ideas for upcoming speeches and presentations.
Books – Presentation Zen and Slide:ology are must buys for your personal library. These are hands down the best books around for learning how to elegantly present any kind of data or complex information in compelling, memorable presentations. I’ve learned so much from these books and come back to them over and over again. Well worth the the $20.00 price tags.
Ted.com – The tagline for this site is “Riveting talks, by remarkable people, free to the world.” I love this. I subscribe to their feed and like to look at a variety of presentations for ideas and inspiration to help me refine my own style. The variety of speakers on this site is wide-ranging but they all have one thing in common – the ability to tell a compelling story. A recent favorite of mine is neuroscientist Jill Bolte Taylor who speaks on what she learned from having a stroke. You’ll be captivated. Watch a few TED speakers and you will learn what separates the pros from the amateurs.
“How to Write and Give a Speech” A colleague turned me on to this book a couple of years ago and it’s one of the best books on speech writing around. Full of practical advice and tips, I’ve recommended this book to many friends and colleagues.
What resources have you discovered to help you improve your public speaking or presentation skills? Do share!