October 14, 2016

Giving Great Presentations

Most of us involved with nonprofits or at certain stages in our professional career will be asked to give a speech at some point. Let’s focus on the typical 10-15 speech, and what you can do to hit it out of the park:

  • Determine your main objective – what is the one idea you want your audience to walk away with? This has to be very much focused on the audience. Your objective may be “get them to make donations”, but your objective must be “make them understand how their support can have a real and significant impact”. This is not your objective, but rather a goal your audience should aspire to.
  • Break your main objective down into smaller objectives. Those should build on each other, and support your main objective. If you know your overall goal and the 3-4 different sub goals you want to share, you will not need to rely on notes, PowerPoint slides or flash cards at all.
  • Memorize the first 2 minutes of your presentation. That will be enough to get you settled, comfortable, and into a flow. There is no need to memorize the entire speech, although you may want to run through it a few times prior.
  • Start out speaking louder and slower than you think you should. Most people will either talk faster or more quietly when nervous. This will naturally put you in a more relaxed state.

The Day of Your Presentation

  •  Get there early. Review the room set-up in advance, and test the microphone.
  • Go over the flow of the event with your primary contact. Confirm who will introduce you, and confirm the names of key individuals in attendance and how to pronounce them.
  • Provide the person introducing you with a half-page introduction about you. This is best sent in advance, but have a copy handy just in case.
  • If you can, greet member of the audience as they arrive.

Handling Questions

  •  If there is a Q&A session planned, be sure to allow time for answering questions. Defer audience members who interrupt you to hold questions until the Q&A part of the program. DO NOT skip the Q&A portion if one has been set-up.
  • Do not repeat questions that are negative. Only repeat audience questions that are positive, or help your narrative. Off-topic or highly confrontational questions offer to address with the person individually after the event. Be sure to speak to that person afterwards, even if only very briefly.

Keep in mind, the audience wants you to be great! No one goes to a presentation hoping the presenter is boring and the content is dull. If you keep this tips in mind, you will do great in any situation.

About Marc Huber

Marc Huber is a fundraising professional with over seventeen years of experience, including strategic messaging, board development, annual giving, capital campaigns, and volunteer consultation and training. He's also the author of The Fundraising Co-Pilot.

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