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7 Keys to Giving Effective Presentations

December 2016

Apex recently joined Creative Circle, our sister company, in inviting Michael Weiss, VP of Marketing at Creative Circle to speak on delivering effective presentations. Michael has a long history of professional storytelling. He worked in Hollywood as a story editor and script analyst along notables such as Quincy Jones, Jerry Bruckheimer, Arnold Kopelson, and Propaganada Films. Michael is also the cofounder of the digital agency imagistic and served as CEO for 14 years. Michael is a seasoned TEDx Talker and Presentation Specialist with a focus on Content Marketing. He is currently the VP of Marketing at Creative Circle – the largest creative staffing agency in North America. Below we’ve listed a few of our main takeaways from the discussion.

1. Respect your audience.
Presentations have a set amount of time. Respect your audience’s time and the parameters that have been allotted to you by using it effectively. Likewise, your audience will interpret information through their own personal variety of filters – their beliefs, their values, their attitudes and personality. Respect differences among your audience by choosing language and content that is universal and engaging to maximize connection.

2. Tell a story.
Storytelling is key to who we are as human beings. It is how we relate to one another and a crucial form of connection. Stories add structure and meaning to your content and engage your audience. Frame your information to be a narrative with a beginning, middle, and end.

3. Create your own power.
Even those who look comfortable speaking in front of others still feel some discomfort. It’s a natural reaction to be nervous or anxious to deliver your presentation. There are tricks to overcoming your nerves, however. They may include doing jumping jacks before you enter the room or power posing for 5 minutes to elicit confidence through your posture. Find what works for you and use it when the nerves hit.

4. Know your style.
Study the kind of presenter that you are naturally. Do you talk slowly or quickly? Do you take appropriate pauses? Do you sound nervous or confident? Do you use your hands for expression? The more you know about your own patterns, the more you can uncover how to more deeply engage and connect to your audience. For instance, if you’re a naturally fast talker, try slowing down and imagine that you are speaking closely to only one person in the room.

5. Skip over the boring parts.
When choosing what to include in your presentation, there is usually an overabundance of information. Your job as the presenter is to weed through the “boring” parts to find the narrative within the material. Decide on what is important and highlight only those points, adding structure and narrative to better engage your audience.

6. Use images.
Pictures really are worth a thousand words. Adding high quality images to your presentation can elicit emotions that would otherwise go untapped. Sprinkle strong images throughout your slide deck to keep your audience interested and to add example to your narrative.

7. Rehearse.
Practicing your presentation instills confidence and can help identify any areas that may need work. Film yourself practicing so you can go back and notice any observations you might have missed.

Click here to watch Michael’s full presentation.