10 ways to make an IT presentation that sells

For us information technology savvy individuals who are used to interfacing with some light emitting flat display panel, keyboard and a mouse that make a computer system it can be pretty traumatizing to speak to a large group of people. However times are changing and employment of Information Technology in corporate and executive worlds is increasing tremendously. Big and yet bigger companies are coming to rely more on internet techniques and digital data to improve their business. This therefore calls for IT professionals to suck up and interact with individuals in a more practically social environment than through forums, blogs, and IRCs

I have personally made a presentation or two and the following really came along way to make the process more distasteful:

i).            Layout your presentation to a flow that you can work with easily that includes the presentation aids. For instance Microsoft PowerPoint has a note feature for every slide you can put additional notes here that will assist you through your presentation. You can also have some small notes that will guide you as you make the presentation

ii).            Use body language, be assertive in your gestures, move around the room in a uniform manner and change the speed of movement accordingly. Don’t be sluggish with your movement. Always make eye contact with your audience. Poor use of body language suggests fear and discomfort.

iii).            You are communicating with your audience through your voice and not by typing a message and hitting enter in a chatting system. Regulate your voice purposefully and express different emotions as required. A perfect geek scenario would be using emoticons in a chat system or forum. Using different emotions, including anger when necessary will motivate your audience.

iv).            Yes, we know that you are a very serious Systems Security Analyst and your use of firewalls is common knowledge. However the scenario has changed and you need to present a new security strategy to the board to ensure that your systems are not compromised. You need to be confident and assert the importance of your presentation. The members of the board are not the ones going to hack into your presentation so don’t hide behind a firewall.

v).            Maintain a solid eye connection with one of the audience and then proceed to speaking. Do not start speaking before you establish this eye contact. After communication, maintain this connection until you have ascertained that the information you are passing has been received.

vi).            Be interactive with your audience; involve them through your presentation. Ask them questions. Delegate a time keeper or an energizer. An energizer is someone that will keep the audiences concentration to you. Presentations can become pretty slow and boring especially when the participants body systems run out of sugars, carbohydrates and other energy giving foods. Keep time and ensure that meal breaks are prompt. Don’t delay the participants from their lunch. Delaying meal breaks will make the audience impatient and grumpy and you don’t want them to be mad at you.

vii).            Familiarize yourself with your presentation environment. This means that you should touch things around the room, including people. However you should be careful not to alert the audience when doing this. Own the room and you will be more comfortable, confident and you will make your presence felt.

viii).            Apart from your body language and movement throughout the room point ii) above, gait is also important. Do not slouch like a *hip hop artist or stand around lazily. Maintain the gait of a serious professional, an executive ready to present a breakthrough strategy for his/her company.

ix).            The presentation is not for yourself though in some way it is, you are not presenting to yourself but for the audience – so forget about your conscience telling you otherwise. Even if you are doing something you wouldn’t normally do and the audience are enjoying your delivery then continue and worry about the small voice in your head when the presentation is over and the boss is congratulating you for a job well done.

*No hard feelings I love hip hop music and I think slouching is cool, but everything has its place and time.

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