How to enhance your professional reputation with great informative or technical presentations

A great presentation can enhance your reputation as a professional. I saw a presentation that did the opposite.

Many years ago, I attended a presentation where a lawyer I knew gave a very bad presentation. She droned on and on about all the details and had everything she was saying up on the slides. She even said “Oh! Is that where we are now?” As the lawyers who attended walked out of the room after the presentation, most of them said to me “I would NEVER hire her”. That is too bad as she is a very good transactional lawyer who gave a very bad presentation. She was abit too confident about her presenting abilities and didn’t appear to have prepared adequately. The people watching assumed that the quality of her speech reflected the quality of her legal work.

What happened to her doesn’t have to happen to you. You can enhance your reputation by making dry or technical content memorable and engaging.

Here are 5 steps to make your next informative or technical presentation memorable and engaging:

1. Include Stories
Stories help you connect with your audience and they help your audience remember your key information. You need to choose stories that tie directly to the purpose of your presentation and craft your stories to engage the audience. A great way to start is with a challenging story that will get the audience’s attention.

2. Finish a few minutes early
Nothing can turn an audience off more than going on and on after you are supposed to be finished. If you have ten minutes for your talk, try to finish in 9 minutes. If you have 30 minutes, try to finish in 25 minutes. You need to know how long you have and edit and practice so you can finish a few minutes early. You are giving your audience a gift of time they weren’t expecting and they will be much more receptive to your call to action.

3. Include only the key information that will fit within your allotted time
Don’t try to cram everything you know into the time you have. Think about the purpose of your speech and what you want your audience to think, feel or do. Use that to filter out any information that does not relate to your purpose. Once you figure out what the key information is, present your information in a way your audience will remember it.

4. Make your slides simple and effective
Keep your slides simple. Make sure any text on your slides is visible for all audience members. Your slides should support your presentation not replace you as the presenter. Be sure to include an image and title on every slide.

5. Prepare your presentation and practice, practice, practice!
You need to prepare and practice your presentation. My client who just nailed her very first presentation told me she did her presentation more than 20 times. Not everyone will need to practice that many times. You do need to practice your presentation until it is inside you so that you can converse with your audience and get all your key information across. Don’t think you can wing it. That can seriously damage your reputation.

When you do all of the above, your reputation will be enhanced.

When you get comfortable with these five steps, you will give memorable and engaging informative or technical presentations. You will feel competent and be recognized for your expertise. Your reputation will be enhanced. Think of the impact on your career or your business.

Simple…not necessarily easy
Like many things in life, giving an informative or technical presentation is pretty simple when you have all the tools. It isn’t necessarily easy.

The big challenge with giving informative and technical presentations is getting too close to all the amazing things you know about your topic. It is hard to know what to include and what to leave out. It can be hard to know what types of stories to include and where to put them.

Need help?

If you’ve been struggling with your presentations, sometimes a bit of outside perspective from someone who has “been there and done that” can make all the difference in the world.

If you’d like to dive a bit deeper and learn the brain science behind some of these suggestions, join me at one of my two free webinars each month “Learn Five Surprising Facts to Transform Your Presentations”: