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Presenting When You're An Expert

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Regular Contributor

Presenting When You're An Expert

At one of my recent Bold Presentation Skills workshops, a successful career coach asked, "How do I give a presentation on a topic that I know a lot about? I could talk about it for hours, but I only have 45 minutes."

 

It's a great question.  Here are 7 techniques to use when you are an expert in the topic:

 

  1. Find out exactly how much you will be given to present. (And be prepared to finish a few minutes early if needed - recognize that your time may be reduced due to factors outside of your control, such as another speaker going over the time, change in schedule, etc.)
  2. Think about what the audience needs to know rather than everything that you could tell them (thanks to master consultant Alan Weiss for this reminder). And find out how much they already know about your topic. 
  3. Focus on only one message within your time limit. Providing too much information will overwhelm and may confuse the audience.
  4. Make sure everything you say, including examples, data and stories, relates to the message.
  5. Save extra material to answer questions or use it as supplemental material such as a handout or follow-up article for the audience.
  6. Recognize that although the information is familiar to you, it may be new for some people in the audience, so go through it slowly and clearly enough so they can absorb it, rather than expecting them to "drink from a fire hose."
  7. Somewhere near the start of your presentation, set the audience's expectations about your message, the level of detail you will provide (introductory, intermediate, advanced, etc.), how long you will speak and whether or not/when you will take questions. And all of this should match whatever has been sent out in the promotional materials or description for your presentation. 

The next time you have to present on a subject that you’re an expert in, refer to these 7 tips so you communicate your expertise without overwhelming the audience. 

 

Gilda Bonanno is a speaker, trainer and coach who helps people improve their presentation and communication skills so they can be more successful. Sign up to receive more public speaking and networking strategies from Gilda's e-newsletter: http://www.gildabonanno.com/Pages/newsletter.aspx

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