Technology when used well can enhance your message and credentials, but the problem is that most presenters are lazy and make the technology the message. Technology, while a great tool, does not necessarily lead to better presentations.
A bad movie is a bad movie whether it’s played on DVD, HDTV or 3D. If you cannot deliver an effective presentation by simply standing up and speaking to an audience, then using a slide-deck, playing a video or using an iPad is not going to make you a better presenter. In fact, it is more likely to either confuse your audience or make the technology the centre of the presentation.
The main purpose of any presentation – whether in a face-to-face meeting or on a conference call is twofold.
Firstly, there is the communication aspect, like informing the team of a new procedure, persuading your manager that you need a new resource or influencing an existing client to expand their business with you. It’s a good idea to write down what you wish to achieve before you start to prepare your main message or slides. This will give you a focus and something to check against as you develop your presentation.
The second purpose is to enhance the credibility of the presenter in the eyes of the audience. Think about the best speakers you know in your company, they tend to be regarded with a golden halo because they have good speaking skills. When you get to a senior level in an organisation the person who gets promoted to the executive level is likely to have the better soft skills, which means highly effective speaking and presenting skills. Have you asked whether your last presentation enhanced or detracted from your credibility. Many business presenters brush over the importance of their weekly ‘routine’ presentations which they make to their teams or line managers. But over time these interactions have a significant impact on how you are regarded inside your company.
So, in 2011, make a commitment to use technology less and bolster your presentation skills more. Attend a workshop, get a coach, or simply grab a book and rehearse the tips that are in the book. Record yourself, playback, critique and go again. Give yourself the edge when it comes to taking the next opportunity in your business and personal life. Have a great 2011! Whatever you do and wherever you are, I sincerely wish that your life improves and you take great strides forward in reaching your dreams!