Friday, March 30, 2007

Journey of an Afropreneur: Preparing for a presentation

I've never been the most bold person especially when it comes to standing infront of people and expressing myself, in fact I had a rather bad experience when I was in secondary school and I was forced to play my music instrument in front of the whole school including the principle but that is another story for another day :-) This week I found myself in a similar situation where I had to do a powerpoint presentation to some senior people and one of my partners had already said that he wasn't cut out to do it. The 1st thing that went through my mind was how do I handle this? and so I decided to read up first on how to make successful ppt presentations.

My first stop was Guy Kawasaki's blog, where I brushed up on his "30/20/10 rules for power point presentations" (I've mentioned it before in previous post) this helped me develop a simple yet straight to the point presentation that was low on useless content but high in rich content. I then proceeded to head to www.presentationzen.com where I read up on his very helpful tips on Presentation (you seriously need to bookmark these two sites if your serious about what you do).

One interesting file I managed to download and partially listening to (it was about 2am when I was listening to it so I had to sleep) was one entitled "Pitching" from Guy Kawasaki which I downloaded from garage.com where Guy gives you some very helpful tips on how to pitch to a team of potential investors. The tips I got from him were really interesting, one that really stick to me was "Always answer the little man" the little man is the person who sits on your shoulder and asks "So What?" whenever you present a point Example: We develop applications that allow you to access all your mail from one interface "So What?" This eliminates that problems associated with logging into multiple email accounts using different usernames and passwords, this tip proved to be the most helpful especially when I had to explain a point, at one time I actually looked at my shoulder to see the little man :-)

Once I completed reading up on presentations, I decided to load up on "building successful online brands" as well as "Building online social communities", since the project we want to undertake is inline with this it meant that I had to up my knowledge on this so that I could answer the questions posed my way.

On the day of the presentation I dressed smartly but casual (no tie, yes no tie) and headed with my team to do the presentation. One of the most important lessons I learnt was to focus my attention on everybody irrespective of who they were, view people not as CEO's and Managers but as normal regular people just like you, trust me it works. I did the presentation in no more then 25 minutes, answered all the questions and left there confident.

Just to summarise what i got from the whole day's events:
  1. Read up on what your going to present.
  2. Be confident at all times.
  3. Speak to the audience never at them.
  4. Drink water just before you present :-)
  5. Never picture your audience naked despite what all the comedies say :-)
  6. And finally remember that titles and suits aside they are just ordinary people like yourself.
Have a good weekend my people

1 comment:

home to find it said...

Good stuff, I remember you telling me about that ill fated instrument playing episode :)
Have you been Afrigator'd??