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Don’t set presentations in stone

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in Leaders & Managers,Management Training,Office Communication,Workplace Communication

Writing and memorizing a well-researched presentation guarantees ... well-polished boredom. Build flexibility into your delivery to better connect with your audience.

Use these four tactics for deviating from your script.

1. Prepare multiple pathways. Because audience interest or last-minute events may push you in a new direction, know the entire landscape of your subject so you can steer around any roadblocks or explore detours. Note where you can expand and contract your comments to cover all the ground you intended, even if the audience requires greater explanation of one area.

2. Connect personally. Mingle with your audience members the day of your presentation to know what's important to them about your topic and what's on their minds right now. That way, you can tell stories about them: much more memorable than statistics.

Example: "Susan, sitting here in the third row, told me that she spent 45 minutes clearing her e-mail in-box this morning. I see many of you nodding because that sounds familiar. I'm going to show you seven ways to pare that mountain of daily messages down to a molehill."

3. Bring it up to the minute. Punctuate your points with the best and most recent stories, statistics and quotes. Listeners may doze while you relate stale statistics on the amount of spam clogging in-boxes. Deliver a jolt by saying, "According to statistics released this morning, the amount of spam has jumped X percent in the past month alone." Researching your topic doesn't end until you walk out of the room. Ask audience members to share their stories on the topic. But just in case no one speaks up, prepare an example yourself.

4. Add activity. Observe what's clicking with the audience, when attention is waning and where to add further explanation. Arm yourself with a full bag of presentation tricks to employ or skip at your discretion: questions to spark interest, props for humor or emphasis and activities to build energy.
Your audience deserves a customized presentation, not a canned one.

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