The Queen Returns | Presentation Etiquette 101

Note: If you have stumbled upon this post by accident, or by coercion, you should know that "the Queen" is my occasional, alter-diva-gardening-ego. She has shown up today to make a fantasy decree about presentation etiquette. 

Hear ye, hear ye!  When I am Queen, I will make it a mandate for every invited speaker who stands up in front of a (most often) paying audience to do the following:
1.  Have a point.  Please do not just slap 1000 of your random photos into a PowerPoint presentation and flip through them.  I can see that in your catalog.  Get a point.  Have a theme.  Develop an outline for your presentation, which should have an opening, a body and a clear conclusion.

2.  Provide the audience with a verbalized take away from your presentation.  What do you want me to learn from your presentation?  What do you expect to tell me that I don't already know?  How will I be better off in the daylily community after hearing you speak?

3.  Practice the timing of the actual presentation and adhere to the allotted timing.  Nothing is more annoying than a presenter flying through the last 50 slides in the presentation because they didn't realize that 150 slides couldn't be realistically shown in 30 minutes.

4.  Do not make apologies for your poor photography or your PowerPoint layout or your lack of technical skill.  If I didn't notice how bad it was before you pointed it out, I sure do now.

5.  Provide a slide key / handout.  Not only does it give the audience something to take specific notes on while you are talking, but it tells them when the presentation will be over and stops them from asking you to repeat the name of the cultivar or cross that is on the screen.  If you don't want to provide a handout in order to save trees, consider putting the name/details/cross on the slide in complementary fonts.  It will help both you and the audience.  It will also serve as a great marketing tool for you when the audience leaves the presentation.  Put your website, blog and contact information on it.  Tell people how to buy your stuff.  Make it easy for me.

6.  Speaking of fonts, don't use 10 million of them in your presentation.  Very rarely does one presentation require the use of multiple fonts in various sizes and a multitude of colors and animation styles.

7.  Do not use any words that may be offensive or demeaning to the audience- no matter how funny you think they (or you) are.  You never know who you may offend with your unnecessary remarks.  Regardless of formality or humor, this is unprofessional.  Save the off-color commentary for non-podium conversations.  You are a guest and are expected to show (fake if you have to) a bit of grace and good breeding.

8.  Practice the presentation that you are giving before you give it, so you know what pictures are in the presentation and what you intend to say about each slide.  Saying 'I don't know what that slide is doing in there' during the presentation gives the audience the impression you didn't take the time or care to know what you were going to say to them in advance.

9.  If you have a traveling road show that makes lots of appearances, take the time to do something a bit different for each one.  Tell a new introductory story, or slide in a few new pics for each audience.  Make it personal.  It makes a difference - guaranteed.

In closing, your presentation is an extension of your business and is a product of your marketing department.  If you wonder why your order counts don't soar after doing a presentation, you might re-read the above points and see if you can recognize yourself in any of them. 



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