Effective 15-minute presentations – Cheat Sheet
Following the rules put down in this cheat sheet will not What is the interest of this audience in my presentation talking. Learn how to stop. Silence is powerful. Use it
automatically make you a great presenter. A better one, and what are their expectations? well.
possibly. It will help you bring your point across – if you
Now that I know all of this, how do I tell a story that #2Tell a story. People like stories. Stories are easy to
are willing to put in the effort. There is no magic.
conveys my message? In four sentences. remember. There is nothing worse than forgetting what
you were going to say. Corollary: Every story should
have a point. Make sure yours does.
General Rules Slides #3Face your audience. You may have a beautiful back,
#1If you cannot do it without your slides, you cannot but a presentation is not the occasion to show it.
do it with your slides. A presentation is you #1For 15 minutes use four slides. The titles of your
slides tell your story. In four full sentences. The slides Corollary: Know your slides by heart. Know your story
communicating something to an audience. If you cannot by heart.
do it without that crutch, it is a bad presentation. Re- explain that story. Additional material belongs in an
work it until you can or drop it entirely. Some appendix. #4Talk to your audience. You look at people when you
presentations are not worth giving. #2The first slide must capture peoples' attention. Not, talk to them, right? Look at individual people in your
I repeat, not the last one. audience, and not always the same, either. Talk to
#2Respect the time. Nothing you have to say is everybody.
important enough to go over time. In particular not for #3The last slide you show carries the message you
your audience. This rule has no exceptions, and you're want your audience to remember. In the title. This #5Do not repeat yourself over and over again. Give
not one. message is elaborated in the body. There is nothing on your audience credit for being intelligent and attentive.
this slide that does not tell your message. This is what They will appreciate it.
#3A good presentation is a lot of work. After the
inspiration comes a lot of sweat. For short presentations you want people to remember. Corollary: Do not use a #6The first 10 seconds must capture peoples'
that is mostly removing the superfluous. Corollary: If you "this is the end" slide, such as a slide saying "Thank attention. Start with a bang, not a whimper. Convey
are not willing to put in the work needed, do not expect you!", "Amen." or "Gosh, it's over!". enthusiasm in voice and posture, and in the way you
to give a good presentation. In this case, better leave it #4Every slide contributes to your presentation, as greet your audience.
be. does all their content. If you can remove a slide or #7Be enthusiastic about your topic. Enthusiasm is
#4Most of what you find interesting is not – for your content without losing important information, do it. If catching. So is boredom. Corollary: If you are not
audience. Cut all of the terribly interesting things you you have to skip slides in the presentation or only talk enthusiastic about your topic, do not present it.
want to say in 15 minutes in half. Rinse and repeat. about a part of them your preparation was insufficient.
#8It is all right to be funny, if you actually are. If you
#5Practice your delivery. A big mirror helps. #5Never, ever, have a slide that introduces people that are not, don't try it in a presentation. The best you can
somehow participated in something or other or have a hope for is to be embarrassing.
cousin who did. Nobody is interested in a recital of
#9Never say "This is very interesting." If it is, your
Preparation names of other people.
audience will cotton on without the pointer. If it is not, or
#6Do not try to be funny on slides. It is a distraction – heaven help – everything else in the presentation is
Before starting a presentation you should ask – and
from your message, and it will not work. not, you are better off not drawing attention to the fact.
answer – at least these questions:
Who is my audience? #10Speak the language. You do not have to be perfect,
What is the message I want this audience to remember?
Oratory Recipes but you should be fluent. If you are not, practice.
#1Silence is golden. You probably know how to start
Version 1.1 – Aug 2009 - Jan Schrage