Nailing the group presentation

audienceIn this article by Mark Suster, an entrepreneur, tips on how to “not suck” at presenting to a group/large audience are discussed. A few of the points stood out to me and I think they really apply for our final presentations on May 4.

  1. “Show some energy!” Mark encourages presenters to jump boldly out of their comfort zones–as everyone in the audience has a mobile device or laptop just waiting to be used if attention is lost. He makes the point that it’s really important to project, use hand motions and “interact” with the audience in a “loud, evocative and compelling” way.
  2. “Tell a story.” Mark encourages presenters to tell a story if a demo is used in their “pitch” to the audience. Rather than highlighting points like how users input data or sign up for the platform, Mark encourages presenters to tell a story about how the app/demo is applicable in real life. I think this is key for our presentations, as we’re all trying to convince a large, diverse group that our app can add value to their lives.
  3. “Make it visual.” Mark discusses how he usually creates two decks when giving a presentation: 1 with high-level stats and lots of valuable pictures/graphs/charts/etc. and 1 full of the “meat” that he sends to his audience after a presentation. I think this is similar to what we’re doing with our presentations– 1 “pretty” deck that covers high-level information about our projects, and a community site where we post all of the “nitty gritty” details for viewing after the presentation. I think this is the best practice because it gives people the general idea of what you’re talking about without making them “think” too much–and gives them the ability to investigate further if they’re so inclined. And that’s key.

Do you agree with Mark’s points? I do. I think they’re pretty much “common sense” things that everybody knows–but many of us rarely practice them in our actual presentations due to nerves, grades, etc. Is there anything you’d add beyond what Mark discusses?

6 Responses to Nailing the group presentation

  • I do agree with Mark’s points and i agree with your comment about its common sense but most of us don’t practice as much due to nerves. I think when presentation time comes and your nervous, it helps to take a deep breath and take your time in what you are trying to say. Its important to practice, practice, practice because sometimes someone may get on stage to present and they will forget everything they had to talk about. Sometimes people lose their train of thought due to nerves.

    • I totally agree– I think practice is a huge takeaway. I think the amount of practice needed varies person to person, but in general, practice helps build a base “flow” that can be altered on the fly if need be.

  • I would have to agree when you both say that practice is key to giving a good presentation. However, I think too much practice can be negative to your presentation as well. When you practice too much, you tend to memorize every word that you say and typically ends up being scripted even if that was not the intention. When it becomes “scripted” based of memorization, if you have a hiccup during your presentation, it can throw it completely for a loop because you then start to worry and think too much about what you need to say next. I think that the key is having an extensive knowledge about the topic of presentation so that, even if you have a brain fart, you dont worry as much because you know the topic being discussed and can essentially wing it. Knowledge breeds confidence

  • I had a similar post recently in regards to successful presentations and the same tips were discussed. As stated in previous comments, I really believe a lot of these are common sense, but these things are easier said than done. For the most part, once you get in front of a crowd your concentration on these things tends to fade when the nerves arise. That’s why the most important tip is to practice over and over. You can’t practice too much.

  • I agree with all of the comments above, especially the one about the key points in this article being common sense. But depending on the type of person you are it may be more difficult to follow through with these tips. I think that practicing plays an important role in a presentation, but like Arren said, too much practice can be negative. This first takeaway of “showing some energy” can be difficult when a presentation sounds scripted.I think people should practice enough to the point where they feel comfortable with the material they are presenting because even if you get distracted it’s easier to remember where you left off. In addition, it’s very difficult to keep your audience engaged when they have a number of distractions at their fingertips. That’s why I think that it is important to tell a story throughout your presentation. It gives the audience an opportunity to relate with the persona or even put himself/herself in that situation. By telling a story, the audience is more likely to pay attention to your presentation.

  • I would also agree that the points seem to be common sense but many times people do not actually follow these guidelines in their presentations. I think the most interesting point made was to create two decks with one being very high-level and the other having more details to distribute after the presentation. I think this is a great idea and could definitely be used in our future careers. As much as I think too much text on a PowerPoint is overwhelming and distracting, I know that people are not always listening to the presentation, so by sending a detailed PowerPoint after the meeting you can make sure that people have all of the information that you presented.

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