Nail Your Next Presentation with These 4 Secret Tricks from Experts

The gift of gab. Some of us have it, others don’t. Still more elusive is the gift of talking ON STAGE. That’s right, in front of people. Not the mirror. And gabbing is the opposite of what you want to do when you present to a room.

With a mic in hand you need to paint a picture, tell a story, and engage your audience with a  straightforward but compelling presentation. How you might ask?

Well, we just went to Spotlight Presentation Academy to find out HOW to create WOW moments.

With the help of the pros at Logitech and TED (you know, those talks you watch at work), we recently got schooled on the art of the presentation. Yes, it is an art. One that is greatly enhanced by Logitech’s Spotlight Presentation Remote, which just so happens to be the preferred presentation remote of TED. It also happens to be the preferred remote of Jaclyn Johnson, Create & Cultivate founder and recent Academy attendee. Why wouldn’t you want to use what the pros do and present like never before?

So we’re dishing (because when we’re not on stage, gabbing about career is so our vibe.)

1. Your speech should be a GIFT to the AUDIENCE.

First things first: the content. You need to make people pay attention. And to do that the first question you should ask yourself is: What are you giving them and what are they receiving? This presentation is NOT about you. Sure it can feel that way when you’re in prep mode, but if you want the audience to take away the magic, you need to take yourself out of the pic.  

So get into the audience’s head. Walk out and don’t say hello, simply START. And remember: generic is the opposite of memorable.

2. Moving with INTENTION, means MOVING AROUND without fear.

Energy is crucial, you must walk out on stage and change the energy of the room. (Which, remember, is why you should walk out and START. No “hellos” needed.)  At TED, it’s what they call the “TED moment” and it’s when you realize you’re in the presence of something truly unique. To engage during the presentation— you need to be able to move around. But you want to make sure you’re confident, in control, and not stressing whether slides are changing or video links are playing. That’s where Logitech comes in. With their new Spotlight Presentation Remote you have total control. Features include: professional slide navigation control, highlight and magnify buttons, and even a timer with a vibration alert. Below Jaclyn shares her favorite features and why.

  1. Highlight: With this feature you can point to a specific feature, data point, or part of an image and call it out. ‘The best part,” says Jaclyn, “is you don’t have to turn around and point— you can stay facing forward-- and make eye contact with those TWO people in the back-- without losing momentum. The moment you lose momentum you lose the crowd.”

  2. Magnify: if you have a photo with interesting details, or something you want to zoom in on, you can magnify and that will help load up and emphasize the content. “I always want to use bright and bold visuals. Being able to magnify, helps the presentation come alive,” shares Jaclyn.

  3. Cursor Control: if you’re embedding video or links, you can play video with the simple click of the button. “No stress, no fear,” says Jaclyn.  

  4. Timing: Jaclyn says, “Timing is everything. And you never want to worry if you’re running out of time or have too much time. That can be a speech KILLER.” With a built-in vibration alert, you’ll always hit your mark.

3. You absolutely have to practice your “body work.”

It’s not only about your content, it’s also about your body language. Which means you need to stand up straight and be confident with your posture in a way that allows people to BELIEVE in what you’re saying. If you don’t believe in you,they never will. Here are four more amazing tips to think about:  

  1. Speak from your diaphragm

  2. Try to make eye contact with at LEAST 5 people in the front and at LEAST 2 people in the back

  3. Practice your speech standing on newspaper, the more the crunching you hear the more you are moving

4.  Move with intention (speak with intention as well)

You don’t want to use slides as a crutch because then they become the focal point of the presentation. They should ADD to what you’re saying, not distract. They should be the exclamation point to what you’re saying! Here are some ways you can make that happen:

  1. When picking photos don’t use the most obvious — think about how you can illicit the same feeling without being so on the nose... Ask yourself what’s your data your anecdote, or your metaphor. Metaphors are a great creative tool to push the boundaries and make your presentation stand out.
  2. Always use big, beautiful photography. And stretch the image the full length of the slide. Don’t simply drag, drop, and assume it’s going to look good. This is a great place to use the magnifying feature on the Spotlight Presentation Remote. You can highlight and call attention to specific spots. Same goes for text-- discussed in the next section.

  3. Think about your typefaces and how they’ll look from the audience. You need to make it really clear. You want the audience to be able to see the text-- so stay away from cursive or any typeface that may look cool, but makes your legibility go down. All caps gives off a certain feeling— maybe that’s a good thing, maybe you want to convey anger or excitement. You can also mix up two typefaces and de-emphasize the words that are less important. It all matters.

Have other tips on public speaking that you want to share? Comment below!

photo credit: Ryan Lash / TED