How to ace a presentation!

Today was a big day for me; I gave the presentation of my project. The last two months I’ve been working towards this goal and today was the big day! I gave two presentations
today, first for Visma Contracting’s leader group and then for the Visma Software leader group. Between the presentations I had an hour and I was able to do some changes to improve my presentation.

The first presentation was so-so, the material I was presenting was solid but there were some communication barriers and my communication of the material could’ve been a lot more clear. After the presentation there was a time period where they asked questions regarding my presentation, I answered every questions I could and I instantly realized that there were important points that I didn’t make in my initial presentation that I should have done. This was a due to a mixture of reasons, after the questions I got my evaluation, it was constructive criticism and I noted everything that was said so that I would be able to change my presentation to the better for my second presentation that day. My feedback
consisted of:

  • Engage the listeners
  • Don’t talk to the screen
  • Split the presentation up into parts
  • Make distinct transitions that emphasizes each part more
  • Be a seller; show your passion for the topic!

With that in mind I went back to the drawing board and changed some small but very important changes.  From playing sports I’m used to taking criticism and turning it into something positive and listen to what is being said instead of getting down about the fact that my feedback was negative. None of my negative feedback came without positive advice on how to
change it! As my inspiring boss Jan-Egil said this is a learning process that every trainee go through and that all the feedback is geared towards my improvement.

Before my second presentation I took a deep breath and promised myself that my passion was going to show in this presentation and that I was going to make those changes to make it a good presentation!

So I did, my second presentation was (and I quote Jan-Egil) “twice as good as the first one”! I was very pleased with this and also the fact that I got more advice on
how to further develop as a presenter! They all thought the project was exciting and that it hopefully can be realized in the future! This shows that you can never get enough practice on how to deliver a great presentation!

These are the pointers that I received after the second presentation:

  • Speak to the entire room, focus on everybody! (if it’s a large crowd where this is not possible, move around a bit and look out at different places) This will create a better and more engaged listeners
  • Use body language as a tool to show your passion!
  • I learned a great trick from Erlend Sogn on how to place your weight on one foot to avoid “wobbeling” back and forth!

Overall I’m satisfied with the total outcome of the presentation, there are lots of things I can work on and I’m happy that I have mentors that can point those things out
and tell them in a positive way that makes me want to better myself!

I hope this can be interesting for all of those who have big presentations in school that are looking for tips that can help!

I will now continue to work on the same project for a couple of weeks and I get to addressee some of the questions that I was not able to answer during my presentation!

Have a good Monday!

My name is Anders Alknes and I'm a Product Marketing Manager in Visma Software International. Took a masters degree in Strategic Leadership and Marketing in the US. When I'm not at work I like to watch and play sports! I enjoy all sorts of Social Media and try to stay updated on what's out there! I will be blogging about my interests and experiences as a Product Marketing Manager in Visma. Follow me on twitter @ alk198
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