Okay, you now have a topic. You have a venue for presenting. You’ve done your marketing and invited an audience to come hear you. So what are you going to give them?
The answer can vary depending on your personal skills and comfort level, but read on for some options to consider, as well as their pros and cons.
Slide Show Presentation
If you can illustrate your topic with a bunch of eye-catching graphics, a slide show can be a terrific tool for presenting. Nice, big photos can be seen even in the back row and, for the shyer folks, it gives the audience something to look at besides the speaker. Another perk is that when you see the next slide, it’s a great prompt for what you need to say next rather than hunting through your notes.
However, and this is a big one, if you can’t keep yourself showing slides with a bunch of text on them that you are going to read to the audience, stay far away from slide shows. No one enjoys that kind of presentation.
One drawback to a slide show is that you need access to electricity, a screen, a projector and computer with your presentation on it. And they all have to work together. If you or your host isn’t tech-savvy and run into a problem, it’s super nerve-wracking and could prevent your presentation entirely.
“TED Talk”-Type of Speech
These are wildly popular, but they do take some practice to do well. Plenty of online resources are available if you want to pursue this option. You have to be pretty comfortable in front of an audience and rehearse like an actor. If you give a lot talks, particularly keynote types, this could be a good option for you. Once you get it down pat, you just market the heck out of it and take it on the road.
You can also give a front-of-the-room talk without the “TED”-style, but practice and poise are still important elements. You may think you are comfortable about winging it because you know your topic so well, but so many things can throw you off your game. Once you start getting flustered, it’s hard to get back on track if you don’t actually have a track to get back on.
School and libraries in particular love first person presentations. You’ve no doubt seen some yourself in which the presenter is playing the role of a famous (or not-so-famous) person. This definitely takes some acting skills and a script that needs to be written and memorized as well as a costume and maybe even props.
You may think you are not an actor, but you might surprise yourself. Actors come from two places: 1) Those who love to be seen so they’re quite comfortable putting on a show as someone else and 2) Those who are naturally shy but are comfortable because they’re pretending to be someone else.
Costumed presentations really appeal to those looking for presentations and you may get booked more often because of it. Consider how you can present in a costume. It doesn’t have to be a biographical figure. It could be an average person from your fantasy realm or historic period talking about your topic.
Lots of authors, business owners and inspirational coaches are marketing their presentations, too, so in addition to having a timely or popular topic, offering some sort of novel twist will set you apart. Maybe you can tie in music, dance, crafts, audience participation or something similar. Event managers are always looking – so be what they are looking for.