a speaker on the international circuit, talks about the world of presentations
as being full of toys. Electronic gizmos. Pictures that flash on to the
screen. Dramatic multi-media presentations. Not to mention the tried and
true: overhead projectors, slides and eye-catching handouts.
"They're a great
asset" says Doug, "as long as the presenter remains in control"
He should know. He's been speaking to audiences large and small, in
outback towns and at huge international conventions for years. And if
there's one thing Doug is, it's a professional. He likes to make an impact.
He likes people to
be moved by his message. And he especially likes to use things that work
well to get that message across. "Things" meaning everything from the
content of his speech to the so-called "toys" he uses. "The polished
presenters all know how to use their toys, Doug muses. "The delivery
has to be smooth, all the way through. Reviews from participants at conventions
can be pretty blunt. They soon let presenters know if their platform skills
are lacking. Our audiences are a lot more sophisticated these days. They're
expecting more and more form presenters, but they want to learn something
along the way. Too much content bores them; to much entertainment and
they start to wonder if they've learned anything useful"
Doug Malouf travels
the world listening to and speaking with the world's best. He's pretty
confident that he knows what people want. What do they want then? And
how should you give it to them? What are the "toys" Doug is talking about?
"The manner of
deliver varies according to the audience you have and the message you're
trying to get across", says Doug "You want to make a presentation that
presses buttons in their minds. You need to ask yourself three questions:
What will they see? What will they hear? And how will they experience
It seems pretty straightforward
when he explains it. The 'toys' he mentions range from the old faithfuls
(flip charts, slides, overhead projectors) to modern video and computer
presentations. Doug even classifies podiums and hand-outs as "toys". Really,
we're talking about using the most suitable media for the occasion.
And, of course, we've
all been to those awful presentations where the presenter writes in small
(or shockingly illegible) letters on a flipchart in front of a crowd of
150 people. If you're not in the first few rows, forget it! And as for
video and computer presentations for a larger group without the benefit
of a large, elevated screen ...
Mostly, says Doug,
it boils down to using common sense. Unfortunately, a lot of speakers
get carried away by all the "goodies" they can use and forget to be practical.
Doug offers a few tips:
- Fit the media to
the size of the audience and the content of the presentation.
- Make sure hand-outs,
flipcharts and notes on whiteboards are clear, uncluttered and easy
If you're using computer
technology or new electronic equipment, make sure you know how it works.
If someone else is operating it for you, check that they have the cues
- Don't use the podium
as a barrier between you and the audience.
- Make sure the sound
is right. Not too loud, not too soft, no jarring electronic whines
- Make sure there
is a balance of entertainment and content that will keep the audience
both happy and informed. Don't play with the toys at the expense of
giving the audience what they need.
"The bottom line
is" says Doug "will they go away happy? If they do, you and your
toys have done a good job. If they don't, then find new toys or learn
how to fit the old ones into your presentation. And keep up with what's
new - technology is constantly coming up with ways to helping you to make
a more dramatic presentation. These days, it's definitely Technology,
10: Humans, 2"