A few years back (October 2010, to be exact) I published two posts describing my favorite presentation resources. In reviewing the posts, I happily found those same tools to still be relevant today. So, here are ‘my favs’ – with some updates!
Use these tools to maximize your rehearsal time, strengthen your visuals, and smooth your on-stage presence.
1. A Reliable Timer
I have a timer handy at every stage of the presentation process — from my initial cold read through, in each practice session and the final delivery. I like the West Bend digital timer as it allows for setting the allotted time and counting down. It’s easy to use and reasonably priced. Of course, you can also use the timing mechanism on your mobile device. Whichever tool you prefer, never underestimate the importance of “timing” your presentation.
2. No to Low Cost Photo Resources
When looking for the perfect image to capture the essence of your message, check out Photopin.com. This site offers no-cost photos for bloggers and others. Ensure you choose “commercial” for the type of license and then properly cite the photo with the given link.
Other affordable resource sites such as Fotolia offer a searchable library of professional images — photos, illustrations, even video clips — you don’t have to break the bank to give your presentation a polished image. Similar resources can be found at iStock and Jupiter Images.
3. Online Teleprompter Practice Tool
Using a teleprompter can be nerve-wracking the first few times out. Luckily, web-based applications like Easy Prompter let you get the feel for a teleprompter’s basic flow, pacing and use, all in the privacy of your own practice session. One caveat: Online tools are no substitute for the real thing! When you arrive on site, practice with your teleprompter operator so you’re certain to nail it like a teleprompter pro.
4. Wireless PowerPoint Control
If your presentation includes PowerPoint, then a wireless remote is an absolute must. My favorite is the Targus Laptop Wireless Presenter. It’s small and lightweight. And this may sound like a no-brainer, but always bring a spare set of batteries to every presentation.
One of the most precious resources you can give yourself is time. Time to think. Time to clarify your message. Time to develop that one-sentence lead-off that sets a tone of excitement and anticipation. Once you’re confident in your message, you need time to refine its delivery to ensure that you do much more than simply convey information…you inspire action that achieves results.
It may sound funny, but you really do need room to rehearse — a space that mimics the size of the presentation room whenever possible so you can get a sense of what it means to “own the room.” Why? Because your environment impacts your presentation style. For example, if you’re presenting on a large stage, you should practice in a room that offers the same sense of breadth and scope. On the flip side, if you’re presenting in a small conference room, you’ll want to create a more intimate feel — and adapt your presentation style accordingly.
Listener feedback is the breakfast of champions. You can’t take your speaking skills to the next level without it — so ask for it! Ask a trusted colleague to watch for particular strengths and weaknesses, or to evaluate the overall structure and effectiveness of your core message. Not in a position to receive feedback from listeners? Record your presentation and critique yourself. It’s the only way to find out how you’re perceived by others when you speak.
By incorporating some of these tools — you’re guaranteed to bring your “A game”, delivering a highly memorable and effective presentation.