Rob's posted (finally) the results from the Account Planning School of the web. You should have a look, the feedback is valuable for anyone who does strategy. This one was hard, people had to actually present in video, not just write something. And while they all have something to learn, they did a lot better than a lot of stuff I've seen from very senior people in very (supposedly) good agencies
Common crimes seem to centre around:
Writing lots and lots of words, talking at people rather than to, or even better, have a conversation with, the audience.
Looking like this is job rather than something you care about.
Endless charts and waffle, rather than telling a story and even just making a point.
If you haven't read Perfect Pitch yet, you should. It's got loads of great pointers on doing presentations.
Here's some things I've picked up too:
1. You want people to listen to YOU. not read your slides. Use powerpoint, boards or whatever as the backdrop to what you're saying, not your script. There's nothing more boring. If you need to read out what you need to say, you haven't prepared well enough. Don't use the deck as your leave behind, write one separately.
2. Don't let anyone tell you there are too many slides. It's not the number of slides, it's how they support what you're saying. There's nothing wrong with a deck of 100 pictures changing in rapid succession to punctuate what you're saying, if that helps. As long as they add to the experience, rather than slow it down they should go in.
3. Write a log line for your presentation. Every film pitch has one, the plot condensed into a really short paragraph. Think of your presentation as a story, write that. There should only be one overarching theme - work our what that is. Do that by thinking about what you want out the presentation, what you need to convince the audience of to get what you want, and the key points you'll make to get that.
4. Don't fall into the trap of trying to be cool or funny- my own weakness is that I tend to use too many ironic pictures or slides I find funny - but just because I do, other's might not (and usually don't). Be simple, be enthusiastic, take lots of time to say less and that's half the battle. Most people are not funny or cool and just look stupid if they try. If you want to be a comedian, go to an open mic night. Instead, try and engage people emotionally...get them to empathise with you, show you empathise with them. What do THEY care about - focus on that.
5. Always be aware of the people you're talking to. Look at their body language - are they leaning forward, so they look interested - take some time to dwell on your points, try and start a conversation. Do they look bored? Move on. But do try and ask questions, be as interactive as you can. The less you talk at people and talk with people the better.
6. But don't be disheartened if there is stony silence, some organisations just don't get involved, in many cases, they're too busy worrying about keeping score or something, they might be afraid to talk in front of others. So keep going don't let yourself motor through just to get out of there - there's been plenty of times I thought they hated me when the feedback was glowing, and other times when I've finished and suddenly they come alive.
7. So leave time for questions at the end. And work out what those questions might be and have your answers prepared.
8. Help each other. People respond really well to a team working together. Don't be too slick, interrupt each other a little, build on each other's points. Step in if someone else is struggling., Look like you've all worked hard, together, and all like each other.
9. Examples work really well. I found from doing internal training that people respond best to examples that make what you're talking about concrete. There's nothing like a mood film to help client's feel what you're on about. Don't forget, agency people tend to intuitive, visual people, clients are not (that's why they pay us, we can do things they can't). Don't describe stuff, demonstrate it.
10. Don't put people under pressure. I've been on the other side, having people present and even pitch to me. It's nerve racking. Here are very talented people throwing their very best stuff at you, stuff that's surprising, thought provoking, makes you think (hopefully). It's very hard to give feedback when you're finding it hard to get your head around it and form an opinion, especial when you don't want to say anything daft in front of colleagues. So leave clients time to breathe, let them give feedback and add thoughts in their own time. I sometimes find creative reviews difficult, I'm being hit with new stuff that is challenging (hopefully) and it's too new to work out what I think just yet - so I don't really want to say anything just yet. On the other hands, it's so underwhelming I need time to think of something constructive to say - it's difficult to just say the work is pants - you need to kill it softly with a strategic argument. If you need time and you wrote the brief, you're good at assessing work,thinking and stuff, imagine what it's like for clients!
Conversely, some clients will say something, either just to say something or a knee jerk reaction they'll regret later. Don't press them, don't force them to dig themselves into a trench - even if they see the light after further reflection, pride will preclude them admitting it.
I''m saying give them and chance to live with ideas and let them breathe.
Hope that helps.