Recently, a client expressed anxiety about presenting. She said she always over-prepared, obsessing for weeks in advance, losing sleep and repeatedly rehashing what she wanted to say and do.
I asked her, “When do you know your presentation is good enough?”
She responded, “Good enough to do what?”
Her question led me to read TJ Walker’s two excellent books, How to Give a Pretty Good Presentation and TJ Walker’s Secret to Foolproof Presentations.
Walker writes in a quick, easy-to-read, conversational manner with no pretense — his knowledge and experience can help catapult any presentation from boring to bravo. I shared these books with my client and recommend them to you.
How to Give a Pretty Good Presentation
In today’s extreme business environment, you have to balance time and performance. So the challenge becomes, how can you be “good enough” to impact business results?
According to Walker, as long as you find a way to have an impact, you don’t need to be a rock star. Walker’s step-by-step advice can help almost anyone write, rehearse and deliver presentations that he calls “pretty good” — which means good enough to make a difference.
After reading this book, my client pointed to one helpful tip in particular. Walker says it’s important to select a single idea to convey to your audience and to focus your presentation on that message. That helped my client after she was promoted to vice president and, with 30 minutes’ notice, had to address a group in her new role.
She followed Walker’s advice, spoke with confidence and earned a high level of credibility with her peers.
TJ Walker’s Secret to Foolproof Presentations
Using a snappy Q&A format, Walker answers just about every question you’ve ever had — but were afraid to ask — about giving a presentation. Each answer is given in a clear, direct way; each suggestion is easy to understand and easy to implement.
One of Walker’s best pieces of advice is to keep it real and be yourself. As he points out, polished and professional may mean that you are suddenly just like every other presenter. Walker says, “Doing what everyone else is doing is playing it safe. . . . You must do something, anything, in order to get people to leave your presentation with a positive impression of you and your ideas.”
Walker also offers excellent advice about using PowerPoint. He suggests that you create two separate PowerPoint decks:
- a streamlined, highly visual version to project on-screen, and
- a more detailed version with all of your text, data and charts that can be used as a handout or email follow-up.
Both these titles are worthy additions to your bookshelf. Take a look, and you’ll find they are must-have resources that will help you be confident, heard and inspiring whenever you step up to speak.