How to Incorporate Innovative Competencies into Presentations

By Ray Anthony, Barbara Boyd

If you are looking for a checklist to incorporate innovative competencies into presentations, look no farther. Here is a list of specific, actionable competencies and performance indicators to guide you and enable you to critique yourself as you head toward speaking excellence.

Don’t be intimidated by this checklist! If you reach proficiency in only 10 of those 25, you’re likely 50 percent better than the majority of presenters. With diligence and practice, you may ace most of them!

  • Start with a riveting, creative introduction that immediately grabs the interest of the audience and whets their appetite for more.

  • Use elements of the unusual, suspense, surprise, and anticipation to tease and tantalize the group and keep them constantly wondering what’s next.

  • Master your topic as well as the audience’s business; don’t use slides to recall detailed information.

  • Develop rapport with the audience by interacting with and engaging them in an appropriate, even playful, way.

  • End the presentation with a well-structured, imaginative, rousing, and — most importantly — memorable conclusion.

  • Use occasional and mild self-deprecating humor to show humility while endearing yourself to the group.

  • Never use slides with bullet points; use minimum text with a focus on compelling visuals. The images may be photos, illustrations, relevant cartoons, attractive charts, diagrams, graphics, video, 3-D photorealistic renderings, and animation.

  • Use meaningful, interesting props and prototypes that support, further explain, and highlight key points.

  • Apply targeted, purposeful humor that solicits brief laughter, but is remembered weeks afterwards because of its profound insight and validity.

  • Create a well thought out and executed presentation plan and strategy designed to ensure presentation goals are met and results are achieved.

  • Conduct a thorough audience analysis.

  • Tell stories and anecdotes that have deep meaning and impact the audience intellectually and emotionally.

  • Use the latest technology, for example gesturing systems, augmented reality, ultra-high definition (4K) video, wireless systems for multiple projection screens or virtual walkthroughs, in unique and creative ways.

  • Pass the “Five Big Cs” presentation test: Make sure your presentation is: Clear, Concise, Compelling, Captivating, and Convincing.

  • Create a flexible structure that lets you adapt the presentation to the changing needs and requests of the audience.

  • Demonstrate creativity and showmanship throughout.

  • Use voice (volume, rate, pace, pause) and body language (posture, gestures, eye contact, movement) to keep the audience focused and engaged and to reinforce the spoken word.

  • Tailor, customize, and personalize the presentation to the specific group.

  • Remain calm, cool, and collected in the face of interruptions, hostile audience members, or unexpected difficult situations.

  • Radiate an impressive, yet subtle, commanding presence without being authoritative, domineering, or intimidating.

  • Tap into the secret reveries and emotional pockets of the audience to give them hope, comfort, assurance, and optimism to reach their dreams, assuage their fears and anxieties, lift their spirits, and cheer them onward.

  • Watch and actively listen to the audience to detect confusion, feelings of being overwhelmed, bored, or concerned and modify the presentation accordingly, for example, slowing down, giving further explanations or examples, or moving ahead more quickly.

  • Highlight and repeat main points, key messages, and critical pieces of information.

  • Generate audience interaction by using meeting and presentation apps on smart devices.

  • Use powerful, imaginative content and visuals to give a 360-degree perspective of the topic: mix facts, examples, quotations, statistics, descriptions, stories, definitions, case studies, news articles, research studies, demonstrations, metaphors/analogies, comparisons/contrasts, videos, and animations.

  • Use clear language suited to and known by the audience; incorporate their terminology, acronyms, jargon, and industry terms.

Return to this list frequently to ensure you meet as many of the criteria as possible.