Presentations and meetings can highlight a person’s professionalism and acumen, or make a person appear incompetent and even desperate. But there are ways to ensure environment and space will work to the advantage of the presenter. Consider using one or all of these five tips.
Use the collaborative space
A collaborative space is a place to bring everyone together to view information. Unless one can afford an amphitheater, the odds are high that the collaborative space is going to be a conference room—and the single greatest contributor to conference room utility is going to be the conference table.
There are several different metrics one can use when incorporating a conference table, but size is a given. If the number of people attending exceeds the number of seats, access to the table may prove inconvenient. If the table is too big for the size of the room, participants will be distracted by feeling hemmed in and crowded.
Another metric to consider is what the conference table will be used for. Width and depth are relevant to whether you will have general employee meetings, sales pitches, brainstorming sessions or the like.
Regardless, having a conference table that everyone can gather around increases productivity by making the act of presenting more convenient to all parties involved.
Prepare the tech
Get all the ducks in order before you begin your presentation—not only mentally and on paper, but tech-wise as well. Make sure you have access to all the tech equipment for your presentation, before you even prepare a presentation.
- Banking on having that LCD projector available without reserving it ahead of time, or not having the appropriate cords the TV requires, is a good way to start wrong. Check again for accessibility to necessary tech one week and then again a few days before your presentation. You never look like a knowledgeable professional when you’re fumbling around trying to figure out what your technical difficulties are.
Organize the information
Having a coherent and cohesive layout and/or progression of your ideas during a presentation makes the information easier to comprehend and understand.
Using a display board with pinned visuals that can be referred to throughout the course of the presentation reinforces the information. Since people typically think in a linear process (A to B to C reasoning), using a presentation board to visually connect the dots between the various aspects of the presentation will make it more memorable.
Keep track and move forward
Kicking around ideas without having a way for everyone to see the ideas already presented frequently results in a lot of wasted time as participants circle back around to the same ideas.
To increase creativity in idea production, use easily erasable white boards to make the most obvious ideas easier to rule out. Having a visual list of ideas that have been verbalized and rejected forces participants to think about new ways to approach a given dilemma.
White boards are also especially useful for listing pros and cons for a scenario, and for moving information from one side to the other as the conversation progresses. Using a white board can prevent stagnation and allow for increased interaction between presenter and participants.
Color code it
There are many presentation accessories that one can incorporate, but few contribute to the overall success and productivity of a presentation more than items that help codify information.
Color coding information throughout the presentation—by using matching dry-erase markers, colored papers, or washi tape on handouts—systematizes the information and makes it easier to follow and implement.
Any presenter hopes to walk away from a presentation knowing that their preparation and hard work was effective. Creating the right environment and having a methodological plan for success and interaction are key steps in making meetings more productive. Make a checklist. Think ahead, know your audience well, and organize your information if you want to succeed.
If you have your own methods to ensure your meetings run smoothly, let us know in the comments below—and be sure to follow us on social media for more essential productivity tips.