Five Tips for Giving the Presentation of Your Life

Written By: John Chilson
  • 9/12/2018
Tips for engineers who need to give presentations

You know that person, that stage-jumping, fist-pumping expert CAD user who hits the podium and just nails it?  Do you ever think “I could never be that person?” 

We think you’re wrong. We know you’re wrong.  All it takes is a little confidence, a few insider tips, and some real-world practice.

 Tips for engineers who need to give presentations

Speaking of Practice

LiveWorx19 is taking place again this upcoming June, and we’re looking for presentations from you, our customers. You know your stuff, and now you can share your product development stories with an engaged audience.

The deadline to submit a proposal is coming up fast: October 12, 2018. Plus, if your proposal is accepted, we’ve got your back.  You get presentation and design assistance from a professional speaking consultant, and we’ll make sure you get plenty of practice. (Ed. Presenters get a free All-Access pass.)

What Great Presenters Know

In the meantime, here are some simple tips to help you deliver the information your audience wants, without putting them to sleep or having your notes slip from your sweat-drenched hands while you have an out-of-body experience.

No. 1: Engage with Your Audience.

Your audience is there to learn from you – you’re the boss. Display confidence and authority.  And be available before the presentation – not sitting rigidly to one side as if you were waiting for the jury to come back or clutching the podium for protection. Make eye contact, smile, be conversational, and don’t be too serious.  A sense of humor goes a long way.  Help your audience to like you, and we promise, the audience members will seem much less intimidating.

Patti Schutte, a presentation and training consultant, who frequently works with engineers like you on their presentation skills, suggests several ways to engage your listeners.  Here’s proof that good things come in threes: start by polling the audience, have them state what they hope to gain from the presentation, or have a conversation starter on the screen.

Remember, people show up because they want to hear what you have to say so talk with them, not at them.

No. 2: Avoid Death by PowerPoint.

PowerPoint dominates the presentation universe. And rightly so since it’s an easy way to get your point across.

For best results, use PowerPoint to show visual examples of what you are presenting, whether that’s data, a powerful quote, or images (imagine how long it would take to explain a schematic diagram). And keep text tight on each page, don’t cram words. Instead use reactionary visuals with larger font type. How do you know you have too much text?  You’re reading the slide to your audience.  Trust us.  They can read.

No.3: Tell a Story: The Power of Threes.

Listening is hard work.  Make it easier by giving your story a beginning, middle, and an end. Use that formula, and you just might be that fist-pumping CAD presenter.

Try to set up your presentation with a question and an overview of what you’re going to say. Then the middle is where the real action is, where you present your thesis and back it up with data and real-world examples. And finally, the end lets you re-group, repeat your thesis, drop the mic, and exit stage left. (Actually, please don’t drop the mic. It’s very expensive A/V equipment.)

No 4. Get Organized.

Applying the power of three will get you on the right track, but getting organized is still important to delivering an effective speech. You have a limited time, so craft your talk to fit. Flashback to college here: draft an outline of your presentation as your roadmap. This will help you nail down your points, keep your thoughts on track, ensure you get the messaging lined up – and really make your freshman English professor proud.  Remember, you might not discover what you really think until you try to write it down.  Revision is your friend.  

No. 5. Practice. Practice. And Practice Some More.

Don’t go into your presentation without a dry run (or runs). In fact, practice in front of a mirror. (We’re serious.) Get the kinks out so you’ll be polished for your audience. Go even further and practice in front of friends and family. Record yourself on your mobile device. Get opinions. And remember, if you present at LiveWorx 2019, you’ll get advice and the opportunity to practice with expert Patti Schutte.

Follow these steps and you’ll be on the road to stardom, or at least ready to give a presentation. Show off your work, tell the world your story. Visit LiveWorx19 and submit your proposal by October 12!

 Submit your presentation to LiveWorx
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About the Author

John Chilson

John Chilson has been writing about tech since the days when you had to dial up your modem for an internet connection. In other words, a long time. In his previous life, he edited trade publications (covering topics ranging from UNIX to Lotus to e-business to construction). Nowadays, John enjoys learning about new technology and telling customers' stories. He’s fascinated by the engineering of everyday things but is lately engaged in a battle of wits with an unuseful soap dispenser that was designed all wrong.