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I congratulate you on seeking assistance. That suggests that you are probably already a better presenter than most. If not, you will be! Stu hit the nail on the head – the first requirement is that we all must recognize that we can do better and invest the time to do so. The best presenters that I know are their own worst critic and always looking for advice to do better.
Stephanie's first statement "Presentations that are engaging to the audience are the best ones…" seems obvious, but - based on the many presentations that I have heard at conferences – seldom heeded. She gave sage advice on how to engage your audience without interrupting the flow of your talk. Melissa Marshall's TED talk makes some great points – without bullets! An implicit message from her talk – Do not try to put everything that you want to say on your slides. You are the focus, not the slides. They are there to highlight points in your presentation, not tell the whole story for you. One sentence or thought per slide is great advice.
Here is the formula that I try to follow (in bullet form, of course!) when developing presentations:
Very relevant topic, Jameelah, and some good advice in the responses!We often make the same mistakes over and over. I surely commit the sin of too many bullet points in my presentations. My favorite presentation in the 20-minute slot at the EWRI conference was by a guy who thought this was a lightning talk limited to 8 minutes!I've found it most difficult to present to a mixed audience. For example, we do brownbags for a client, where some people are deeply involved in the project (will already know most of the things in the slides), and some hear about it for the first time. How much background do I give? How do I keep it interesting for the people who are deeply involved but not lose the new ones?I also wanted to add something on the basic physical fear of public speaking. I found that the best way to address it is by repeating my presentation, aloud, over and over, so that I don't freeze like a deer in the headlights when the time comes.