My worst presentation (and 3 tips for public speaking)

While I was passing by, two Japanese students stopped at the bottom end of the Tottenham Court Road underground station escalators to take photos of the tiles.
Although the tiles at the station are beautiful — it’s a complex mosaic by Paolozzi — you lose sight of them when you use it on a regular basis. You lose sight of many things you see every day.
I try to avoid doing that at work. However, it is difficult when the project team is performing well and it is easy for me to take everything as a given. It can be frustrating to get blocked by people for things like photos in a rush.
I’m sure their friends at home enjoyed the photos.
(The Paolozzi Restoration project to repair the mosaics at Tottenham Court Road was a fascinating initiative. You can read more about it at the TFL website.
Tottenham Court Road is London’s central location for electrical supplies. I have searched for a long time for the right clicker to move slides forward during a presentation. It was my keyboard and mouse that caused me to fall off the podium during a presentation. I don’t want that to happen again.
This wasn’t my worst presentation. Continue reading for the story!
I know that many of you give presentations on projects, to stakeholders and outside of work. Here are my top 3 tips for public speaking.
#1: Prepare (ofcourse).
It is said that you should prepare for each 5 minutes of presentation you will make. It is a lot of preparation, though I don’t recall where I heard it. In the past year, I have made a lot of effort to prepare better for presentations, especially slides.
While you may prefer to use slides, you might decide that it’s easier to convey your message without them. Even if you don’t have flip charts, slides or any other material, you’ll still need to decide what you want to say. It needs to be convincing and flow logically from point to point.
This is hard work. My tip is to determine what you want your audience to take away from your presentation.
#2: Don’t run too fast
The 2008 APM Conference had two sessions. Each session was moderated by a moderator. After each speaker had finished, the moderator took questions from the floor.
I was the second speaker at my session. This meant that I had to wait on the stage to hear my turn.
We were told about the time limits for our sessions and he came…and went. He was not even halfway through his slides. My presentation time was being consumed minute by minute. The audience was agitated.
After a long delay and many hints, the moderator stood and said, “I’ll need to stop you there.” This was the first and only instance of this happening to me.
Don’t let this happen.
Respect your time limit. You must practice your presentation over and over to be sure you are within the time limit. You can use a watch to time the presentation and ask a friend to give you a signal when it is 10 minutes past the end.
Believe me, your audience and the speaker will be grateful for you.
#3: Think about who your audience is
My worst presentation was when I spoke to a large group of business analysts about the difficulties that project managers face in working with business analysts.
While I was preparing, I thought I was being funny. I was actually wrong. I realized it five minutes into my speech that I had mislead the audience. They would have thrown the tomatoes if they had found rotten tomatoes. It would have been a great honor for me.
A colleague who is still working