Before you begin your speech there are a few things to make sure you have in place in terms of the technology you’re working with and your own preparation/the speech itself. In terms of the technology and equipment, these should be projectors, rigged up to your computer and some speakers, as well as a microphone and good lighting. All of this will help to ensure that the audience are concentrating on you and on your speech and will also ensure that nothing goes wrong during the presentation. A malfunction with projectors for instance can be a serious problem and mean that the whole presentation is a failure – it will be all that people speak about after your talk is done and the actual message of the presentation will be lost. Make sure that you know of the local computer shops and use these to stock up on necessary equipment and to ensure it is all in good working condition. Make sure that the lighting is also set up well so that it doesn’t interfere with projector and supports the presentation.
At the same time you should also ensure that any projectors have something good to project, and this means trying to create the best possible PowerPoint presentations. The key here is not to try to put too much information and exposition onto each slide, but instead use it to simply enhance what it is that you are talking about. Make sure you also use lots of images and remember that you can embed other media too, such as videos, music, GIFs or anything else. Don’t be shy of using lots of images in order to add a splash of colour to your pages and don’t be afraid to put in a bit of humour – especially when dealing with drier topics. For example a financial modeling presentation with some amusing gifs can be a lot more engaging than just dry stats and charts – though at the same time you have to be careful to avoid drawing attention away from the speech itself. These presentations can help to make your speech far more engaging and to elaborate on points you are making. If you hadn’t already considered using projectors and a PowerPoint presentation as part of your talk then you should.
In terms of ensuring that you and your speech are up to scratch there are a few key points to bear in mind. First of all – be sure to speak slowly and this will help you to sound clearer. Often when we give speeches we will talk increasingly rapidly – even when we think we are making an effort to speak slowly. So make sure you are really careful to talk at a slow pace and try listening to yourself back. Use queue cards or the displays on the projectors in order to give yourself hints as to the next topic to ensure you cover every point, but don’t try and memorise the entire talk word for word. Try not to fiddle too much or to pace around which will make you look nervous. Finally be sure to scan the audience with your eyes to ensure everyone feels like you are giving them eye contact, and to particularly focus on areas and individuals that you seem to be losing.