Do You Know How To Make Effective Presentations? And, Do You Do It?


They say teachers make the worst students… or is it doctors make the worst patients?  Whatever…it seems they’re both true.

I teach effective presentation skills every semester, so why is it during the webinar I just gave last week, I didn’t do some of the most important tips I teach my students?

Several times throughout the presentation I found myself telling stories…good thing, right?  Well usually, but when your stories start to ramble and you hear your brain saying, “OK, Shelly, how did you get here?  You need to get back to the point you wanted to make.” And you frantically think, “How can I get back, without sounding like I realized my story had gotten away from me?”.  That’s when you realize you should have created notes to keep you on track. Yikes!  (Sorry about the shoe closet story, my son’s “Likes” and “Ums”, and my step-daughter’s journey from Psychology to Mass-Comm/Marketing stories.)

And, this presentation was a webinar, so they could only see my PowerPoint slides, vs. me and my expressive facial and hand movements. I know I should have had more slides and moved on to the next ones about every 20-30 seconds (or at least had bullet point additions via animation indicating an ‘in-coming’ next point).  But, in my own defense, the technology was new and the last webinar had slow video and sound, thus buffering delays.  I wanted to minimize that issue with fewer slides, thus a pretty slow-moving visual.

On the positive side, I was able to find a way in the new(er) Blackboard Collaborate Ultra software to switch back and forth between live examples (websites and LinkedIn) and the PowerPoint. And, I kept the audience in mind, letting them know about several actions they could take immediately after the presentation was over.  I also reiterated and reconnected to a few key points.  ‘In Person’, ‘On Paper’, and ‘Online’; Personal Brand phrases/keywords (or personal branding statement); It’s a journey, not a destination; and How to grow your personal brand.

Overall I was happy about the way the presentation went, but I know it could have been better.  Next time??  Yes, definitely Next Time!