There are lots of articles on the drawbacks of formal presentations (death by Powerpoint etc). I’ve certainly gone through many presentations that have ranged from boring to incomprehensible.
In a concise article, Jack Welch offers three tips (extracts below):
Rule #1: Keep your message simple. Not simplistic, mind you. Not dumbed down, either. But simple, as in not over-complicated and completely graspable.
It’s quite likely true that if the idea or premise can’t be made simple (but not simplistic) then there’s probably something wrong with it.
Rule #2: Tell your audience something they don’t know. I’m always amazed when a manager comes into an executive or board presentation and basically recites materials that all of us have already received by email.
As you can imagine, this would certainly grab people’s attention. This relates to Rule 1 of course!
Rule #3: Let your passion rip. I don’t get it, but there’s a popular strand of thinking that speakers gain credibility in front of audiences by appearing pensive and logical, almost contained to the point of flatness, like a 3-star general giving testimony before Congress.
This is sometimes more a question of confidence than anything else.
I quite like this extract, which I think gets to the heart of the matter:
“Giving a speech/presentation is not about relating information or a point of view so that people go, “Hmm,” and move along. It’s about igniting exciting conversations that go on long after you’re done talking.”
Consequently it will be invaluable to think through how you’d keep these conversations going and how best to benefit from them.