June 17, 2014

As an IT professional, moving up on the IT leadership ladder can include a well-deserved increase in salary and shiny new title, but you can also expect to take on certain new responsibilities that weren’t necessary in your previous role. Such responsibilities include presenting information to different groups of people, both big and small, tech-level and senior IT executives. Are you prepared for this new aspect of your job? Whether you’re a seasoned presenter or crouch in fear at the thought of having to speak publicly, here are 5 great tips to consider as you prepare for you next presentation:

  1. Key message: Though it would be great to have your audience hanging on your every word, the truth is that everyone in the room has at least 10 different things on their minds, both work and home- related. As a presenter, it’s your job to try to break through the clutter with a key message—the reason you’re standing in front of them. One of the best ways to accomplish this is to mention it several times through your presentation, especially at the beginning and during your wrap up.  
  1. Customized slides: If you’re using PowerPoint to help demonstrate your information, it is important that they are simply there as an aid. You want to avoid transcribing your thoughts word for word on the slides so that the audience’s attention can be on you. Pictures, graphs, and a few simple words are some great things to display, as they are more likely to resonate with your audience.
  1. Project and Enunciate: If you are hard to understand and/or hear, you lose your audience’s attention very quickly. Remember, they don’t know the material as well as you do, so be sure to speak in a way that makes it easy for them to retain your information.
  1. Get moving: Another easy tip for keeping your audience’s attention is to keep their eyes moving. Moving around the stage or even into the audience (without being too distracting) is a great way to keep all eyes on you and what you’re trying to tell them. Adding video clips, where appropriate, can create a burst of movement that helps to make your presentation more memorable.
  1. Practice makes perfect (almost):The most important tip for presenting in front of a group, both peers and strangers, is to practice. Although you may know your material forwards and backwards, making even the smallest changes can affect the way you present. Whether you’ve memorized what you’re going to say or plan on using speaking aids, such as notecards, you should always have an idea of how you’d like your presentation to flow. Also, if you are under a time constraint, practicing will ensure wrap up in just under 8 minutes, with plenty of time for a question and answer session at the end.

Being able to convey information clearly and effectively is a key skill in presenting. As the IT industry continues to shift and expand, the need for public speaking will become an important and necessary component for all IT professionals. Even if you aren’t required to present on a consistent basis, there are plenty of situations where great public speaking and presentation abilities can help to advance your career and create new opportunities.

What are some of you go-to presentation tips? Share with us below!

Posted By: Ariana Hampton- Marcell

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