the guy asked his cab driver. The reply, "Practice. Practice. Practice."
That was the punchline to a joke we used tell each other when we were in locking ourselves in a practice room at the conservatory 6-8 hours a day. But it is also the key to a successful presentation, according to this article from business week.
The key points:
1. Master Your Material
"Rehearsing means walking through your presentation exactly as you would when you deliver it -- out loud."
2. Practice with a Video Camera
This sounds painful, but you tape yourself and then watch it. This is how kids studying music school self-assess their peformance. The article suggests that you evaluate your performance using the following questions:
- Does this person engage me? Do I want to hear more? Is he convincing? Genuine? Passionate?
- How's your energy level?
- Do you get to the point quickly, or do you tend to meander from thought to thought? Is your message clear or convoluted?
- What does your body language say? Do you exude strong, confident, and commanding body language? Are your arms crossed instead of open? Do you fidget, rock, or have other distracting body mannerisms? If so, the videotape will help you identify and eliminate bad habits.
- Do you use comfortable, animated, and natural hand gestures, or do you look stiff and wooden?
- Are there nonsense or filler words that you repeat all the time while you're thinking?
- How do you look? Is your wardrobe disheveled or crisp? Do the colors you wear compliment your skin tone, or do you look washed out? Do you look a little better than the people in your audience?
In a post titled "How To Manage The PowerPoint Presentation Process From Conception to Rehearsal To Handouts" Ellen Finkelstein, author of How To Do Anything With PowerPoint stresses that "Your PowerPoint file is not your presentation; what you say before an audience is your presentation." She suggests that you create your slides and then your presentation, expect that you'll find that the logic of your content will lead you to change (and improve) the organization of your slides.
She offers this advice on how your notes page can help you get from concept to rehearsal to handout as follows:
* Write out what you're going to say using the notes pane for each slide
* Print out the notes pages and use it to practice outloud
* After your rehearse, use PowerPoint's narration feature to record yourself
(She explains the process in detail here)
* Use your printed notes page for your notes when you present