Dennis Zink: Bob, what is an effective presentation?
Bob Turel: I would define effective presentation as anytime you're wanting to get your message across to an audience and in fact you do. There are a lot of different ways to do it, but the bottom line is your audience has to not only perceive but be able to understand whatever message it is you're imparting.
Dennis Zink: Why is being able to present yourself in a good manner important?
Bob Turel: If you think about it, from the first minute we start working anywhere, no matter whether it's our own business or one in which we work as an employee, one of the first things we're called upon to do is to communicate well. Whether it's an interview or presenting before a board or an audience or even just running a meeting, one of the most critical skills we have is communications and very often, we're called upon to present something even last minute. Isn't it better to be prepared as best you can with having effective presentation skills?
Dennis Zink: Do you have any set amount of time and prep that you would suggest to prepare for say a 20-minute presentation?
Bob Turel: Yes, I do. A 20-minute presentation is probably about average for when you're speaking before a chamber of commerce or if you're speaking before some kind of a board or internally toward a committee for a company. What I recommend these days since a lot of us have smartphones is to set that smartphone up in video every time you practice. This way when you watch it you're objectively seeing what you're practicing and, hopefully, if you have an audience or someone there to help you, they're giving you feedback and you're able to see the areas in which you can improve.
For a general rule, if you're going to do a 20-minute presentation, you want to be able to practice that presentation at least 10 times. Although it seems like an investment in time, it is, you're better off running it through so that you really know the essence of your speech or your presentation and you don't have to look down and read it when the time comes.
Dennis Zink: What's your opinion on a PowerPoint presentation as opposed to not having the PowerPoint?
Bob Turel: I might get some cards and letters on this or maybe you guys will, but I'm not a big believer in PowerPoint anymore. I'm old enough to have been around when PowerPoint came out and, like most people, I really got into it. Now my philosophy is, if it supports the speech or the presentation, use it, but sparingly. Let me say that again with emphasis, sparingly, and not with all the frills and fancy stuff that happens with flying in and again transitioning out. Really to me, PowerPoint should be graphical and it should only support the points you're making occasionally, infrequently throughout your presentation.
Dennis Zink: I see PowerPoints with so much verbiage on the slide it's just ridiculous so I know exactly what you're talking about.
Fred Dunayer: You know it's interesting because sometimes you want to just put the bullet points of what the presentation is about up there to just help guide the audience through the presentation, but sometimes you actually want to give them a handout that has the information in it, in which case you want to put more on it. I guess it depends on the situation and what you're trying to convey.