18 Ways to Improve Your Presentations

Last Updated Aug 23, 2007 3:00 PM EDT

presentation.jpgWhether you're gearing up to give your first presentation or you've been doing them for years, there's always room for improvement. The ever-helpful Lifehack.org offers 18 tips for delivering killer presentations. Here's a sampling:
  • Eye Contact - Match eye contact with everyone in the room. I've also heard from salespeople that you shouldn't focus all your attention on the decision maker since secretaries and assistants in the room may hold persuasive sway over their boss.
  • 15 Word Summary - Can you summarize your idea in fifteen words? If not, rewrite it and try again. Speaking is an inefficient medium for communicating information, so know what the important fifteen words are so they can be repeated.
  • 20-20 Rule - Another suggestion for slideshows. This one says that you should have twenty slides each lasting exactly twenty seconds. The 20-20 Rule forces you to be concise and to keep from boring people.
To this list I would add the following: Make people feel good about the questions they ask. Whatever the question, say either "I'm glad you asked that" or "That's a really good question." I also make sure to encourage questions by stating the old chestnut: Chances are good other people are wondering the same thing, so go ahead and ask! What's your favorite presentation tip? Present it to us in the Comments!
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    Rick Broida, a technology writer for more than 20 years, is the author of more than a dozen books. In addition to writing CNET's The Cheapskate blog, he contributes to CNET's iPhone Atlas.