- "We just decided who would talk about each slide in the taxi on the way to the meeting!..."
- "We talked over each other and looked disorganised."
- "Nobody knew where to stand, or what to do when they weren't speaking."
So let me help you out with a few simple tips that can make all the difference and help you win the results and respect that you deserve, even if you have very little time to prepare.
- People read time from left to right. No matter what culture you come from a graph that displays time will have January on the left and December on the right. This means that the first person to talk should be on the audience's left and the next speaker should be on the audience's right. You will notice this in professional presenting teams. In the UK, "Ant and Dec" always stand so that Ant is on your left, Dec is on the right (try Googling images of Ant and Dec, they are in the same position in every image!). In Casablanca, Humphrey Bogart is on the left in nearly every shot of the film, showing him as the lead character. The BBC recently had an issue of sexism raised because the male presenter is always put on the left of the screen - a position known in TV as 'Presenter 1'. This means that if you want to lead the presentation and gain authority, that's where you need to be.
- When not speaking, watch the person who is! If you see a choir singing you will instantly spot the one person who is scratching their head or looking out of the window. As a co-presenter you can make your team look better by watching them as they speak, not looking at the audience or client
- Handover using a name, not a nod. Take a look at Apple presentations - they have a team of people presenting and they handover with the name of the person who is speaking next. This means the handover looks seamless and there are no painful gaps or people talking over each other.
Of course, getting some coaching and rehearsals done before the big day will also help, but I hope these tips point you in the right direction for now!
You can find out more about how to boost your skills on our workshops page.
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