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Any tips on presenting? Its my first time.....

Any tips on presenting? Its my first time.....

Any tips on presenting? Its my first time.....

Hi everyone, for the first time my Boss is giving me the lead on a presentation to a school board on the recommended approach for restoration of various concrete sections in several schools. Its not a whole lot of information to be honest. My boss just told me to make sure and not get too technical and that's my number 1 on the "remember" list. I have done many presentations before on research I've done for class projects and of course senior design (too long ago)etc... But this audience is a first for me. Thanks for any tips.

ps. Preparing a power point to put up on a screen is my plan.

RE: Any tips on presenting? Its my first time.....

My tips:

Use a title slide, then a "contents" slide, which lists what you'll be showing them.

Use large fonts, not too much text.

Bullet lists only, not paragraphs.

If 1 slide contains more than 20-30 words, people will fall asleep.

Use lots of pictures.

If you can, have a "conclusion" slide, and make sure to open the floor for questions.

Practice doing your presentation alone and then in front of at least 1 person - ask for feedback.

Try not to read from your slides while presenting - use alternate text if possible except key words.

Good luck.

RE: Any tips on presenting? Its my first time.....

Keep your hands still. Hold a pen that DOES NOT click, at least not audibly, and practice a bit in front of a mirror.

A successful presentation is one where the presenter looks confident and comfortable, keeps the flow steady but not too fast, and is delivered without being boring.

Quick tips:

1) Make eye contact with audience members as you present, but don't lock looks with them, enough time for a friendly smile is just right.

2) Know your material and hold "topic" cards with little to no text.

3) Do not, I repeat NOT, read the slides or say anything remotely mirroring their content. Slides should have next to no txt. People will read instead of listed.

That's it. Fake it until you make it, this is the only part of engineering there that's okay....

RE: Any tips on presenting? Its my first time.....

* Don't read the power point presentation. Work off a different script. Add information.
* I like to fly in the bullets one by one so people can't get ahead of me. But don't overdo the fancy tools.
* Pictures are a great tool. No one, even a school board, likes to read a whole lot.
* You know a lot more about concrete than they do, but don't come off that way.
* Make it short and sweet. They probably have much more important (especially to them) items to consider. If you can get a time limit, follow it, but only use about 75% of it.

RE: Any tips on presenting? Its my first time.....

Yes, you will be nervous. Don't "fear" those nerves, use them to feed YOUR excitement and interest and enthusiasm.

2. Your AUDIENCE wants YOU to succeed.

RE: Any tips on presenting? Its my first time.....

Have fun.

I'm serious, have fun. No matter what if you're enjoying being there and are enthusiastic about what you're talking about then they will probably follow along.

Be this guy:


Maine EIT, Civil/Structural.

RE: Any tips on presenting? Its my first time.....

Thank you much for all the input from everyone!! The video was great and all of these tips put things in perspective for me! I was panicking and now I really am not. Hope to hear more and I will definitely post how it goes. smile

Thank you,


RE: Any tips on presenting? Its my first time.....

> Some same as above
> Make full use of title and takeaway boxes to summarize what your theme is for each slide.
> Avoid "horse" charts i.e., "Concrete Section", particularly if subsequent charts also say "Concrete Section"
> Not only do not read your charts, you should have them close to memorized so that you don't wind up turning away from the audience
> Watch your "ums" and "erhs" You might want to video tape yourself giving a portion of your briefing; Once you see how often you say "you know" you'll ALWAYS be aware of doing it.
> Really know your material, but if a zinger comes along, do NOT try to BS your way out of it; say that you will take an action item to investigate further
> Do not BS your audience; your credibility is the summation of your knowledge, and your willingness to admit lack thereof.
> Do not rush your answers
> Avoid reacting to baiting

Don't be surprised if decisions come quickly or counter to what your audience might seem to be leaning towards. City politics is a tortured path for most decisions and often, decisions are already made, and public hearings, etc., are merely to dot the i's and assuage the public into thinking their government is responsive.

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RE: Any tips on presenting? Its my first time.....

"Do not BS your audience; your credibility is the summation of your knowledge, and your willingness to admit lack thereof."
"Do not rush your answers"

This I've got into discussions that turned towards areas I have very little expertise in (temperature sensors in a steam line for one example). While I wasn't afraid to admit I didn't know and while this was an informal discussion I still felt the need to "show off" that I could provide them with help and with expertise that I ultimately didn't have. I quickly realized what I was leading myself into and backed out with a polite "I'll have to get back to you on this one." I also am totally guilty of rushing to answer a question. It's much better to pause, take a breath while you think, and then continue. Nervous or excited you can easily start talking at 5000 wpm. Sometimes this shows enthusiasm and knowledge, but most of the time this just makes you hard to follow and even harder to pay attention to.

Probably another good example is actually from the film Red October. The main character has to make a unprepared presentation to military officers and government officials and I've always thought of it as one of the better examples of an effective, simple presentation. I can't find any clips of it online but if you know the film then you might know what I mean (if not, watch it, good movie). Dramatic pauses, an even tempo, and pausing to consider a question are all great methods for public speaking.

Maine EIT, Civil/Structural.

RE: Any tips on presenting? Its my first time.....

I love presenting in front of people. All of the above tips are great.

My keys to success always were:

- know the stuff so well I didn't need to prepare a speech but rather tell the audience a story from memory (like I would give a lecture or explain it to a coworker for example). In all of the presentations I did in school and any since I've never had cue cards, or a prepared speech. I used the slide titles as my cue cards and studied my material until I knew it. My argument always was if I didn't really know the information well enough to do this then I shouldn't be giving the presentation.

- Make your slides your cue cards. Bullet points only, keep the information on each slide pertinent, include pictures and graphs only where applicable. Adding pictures with little or no relevance looks tacky.

- Don't give a presentation to them. Teach them about your topic. Pay attention to them and respond to their body language and facial expressions, if they look interested tell them more about the current slide, if they look bored then broad stroke that slide and move on. At the beginning, encourage them to ask questions at any time as it helps keep people engaged, confused people stop paying attention quickly.

RE: Any tips on presenting? Its my first time.....

...and the nervousness will pass in about 30 seconds... take it easy, and have fun. Let us know how you do...


RE: Any tips on presenting? Its my first time.....

And a little levity always helps to ease your tensions, and hold their interest.

Mike McCann
MMC Engineering

RE: Any tips on presenting? Its my first time.....

I'm not big fan of public speaking, usually pretty quiet, but knowing what I'm talking about and knowing that it is important to make the audience understand, has always been enough to get me through it without being nervous. Don't overthink it.

You know the answers to all the relevant questions that might be asked, and if you are asked irrelevant questions just be polite and steer things back on topic.

RE: Any tips on presenting? Its my first time.....

Practice your presentation over and over so that you have it memorized - but don't recite it as if it's memorized. The better you know your presentation the more comfortable you will be in "going with the flow".
Speak to your audience. Your boss gave you good advice. Don't get too technical.
If you are doing a PowerPoint presentation, then keep the slides simple. Avoid filling the slides with words.
If you use photos, make sure the photos are high quality. As they say, a picture is worth a thousand words.
Unless you are good at standup comedy, avoid humor.
Make eye contact with the audience. Try to pull them in.
Encourage questions. There's no such thing as a dumb question. This is probably all new stuff to your audience.
Don't wait until the last minute to prepare your presentation. The sooner you prepare, the more time you'll have to practice - and the sooner you prepare the more "simmer time" you'll have. Prepare your presentation and then let it simmer for a couple days. When you come back and look at it you'll find things that you will want to change.
Have fun!

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