105. About Giving Presentations
BEFORE YOU BEGIN
81 Create a New Presentation
84 Run a Presentation
101 Make an Automatic Presentation
Giving presentations seems to be as much of an art as a skill. Some extremely enjoyable, attention-getting speakers use absolutely no presentation handouts, notes, or overhead materials such as those Impress can produce. On the other hand, many professional speakers wouldn't enter a room without these tools.
You must decide what is best for you, given your comfort level, your ability to capture an audience, your material, and the environment in which you plan to present your material. One thing is for suretools such as Impress are so powerful, it's easy to get caught up in special effects, color , and sound so much that your presentation's details take away from your message. You must keep in the forefront that your message should take priority over the presentation in every detail.
Not every speech requires Impress's tools. A simple speech that you plan to give may be better presented without any overhead slides shown to your audience. But even for "low-tech" talks, you can still use Impress to develop your content and thoughts and to arrange the topics you wish to speak on.
Don't add a special effect unless that effect accents the message you're trying to convey on that slide. Don't add sound to your presentation without ensuring that you won't be speaking when the sound starts. If you create automatic presentations, you might rely a little more on sound and special effects to keep the audience's attention because you won't be there to direct things, but the message you want to convey is still paramount to the technical aspects of your presentation.
Unlike tradition, seriously consider not passing out handouts of your presentation, or even letting your audience know you have them, until after your presentation ends. If you do, you may lose the interest of some audience members because they will assume all the information is in the handouts. Or they may think they can study the handouts later, and in doing so, they may miss connecting important points together that you make in your speech but that may not be explicit in the handouts. Do what you can to keep your audience attentive to your messagethis may mean that you buck the trend and not pass out handouts before you speak.
Don't print, word for word, your speaker notes, either on slides or on a printed piece of paper you keep with you at the podium. You need to know your presentation well enough to give it cold, without any notes other than (perhaps) a card with key words that remind you of your presentation's order.
Know your presentation but do not memorize it. Instead of coming across knowing your material inside and out, if you recite a memorized speech, you will come off sounding stiff and boring no matter how well you know your topic and no matter how interesting your topic is.
Unless you're teaching technical material, I'd suggest that you save questions for the end of your presentation. If you do not, you may be sidetracked from your presentation, you may go over time (upsetting both your audience and possibly the host conference personnel if you're speaking at a conference), and your entire presentation runs the risk of being derailed.
Finally, even though it should go without saying, how many times have you seen a speaker get up before the audience and not know how to work the equipment? You need to arrive before your audience and prepare your hardware, get your handouts ready to pass out after the talk, and test your entire presentation system before the presentation starts. If you cannot get the ball rolling when you're supposed to start the presentation, you lose control of the situation in your audience's eyes and you must fight to regain your audience.
As you can see, giving a presentation requires far more important tasks than using Impress to create slides. Make Impress an important part of your presentation but don't make Impress the center of your presentation. Impress should only serve your presentation and not the other way around.