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100 tips for presentation mastery: Conquering personal habits

Tips for conquering distracting personal habits
Tips for conquering distracting personal habits
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This article is a continuation of a series offering 100 tips for delivering a masterful presentation that will leave them cheering for more.

Past articles have introduced the topic and discussed client expectations, persona, design, scripting, rehearsal, and packing.

This article examines conquering personal habits and how to not distract from your message.

Tip 17 – Empty your pockets before you begin

Some presenters, out of nervousness, play with whatever happens to be in their pockets. Besides inviting crude humor, playing with your pocket change is noisy. So is rubbing a finger along the edge of a comb. Those bulges look unsightly anyway. Empty your pockets before you being your presentation. You won’t miss it while you are on the platform.

Tip 18 – Leave the markers at the easel

For some presenters, markers have two functions: documenting what is being said and drumming or snapping out annoying rhythms. The first function is legitimate. The second is not. Marker caps exist to keep the marker fluid from evaporating and to prevent marker stains. They are not percussion instruments. Popping caps distracts learners. If you are writing with a marker, place the cap aside.

Tip 19 – Turn your phone off

If you answer your phone during a program, how can you expect your learners not to answer theirs? Turn that phone to vibrate and ignore it while you are presenting.

Tip 20 – Don’t talk about your personal issues

If you had an argument with a member of your family, are upset over who got voted off the island, or had a hot date last night, keep it to yourself. No one really cares. The very definition of personal is the opposite of public. Keep your issues to yourself. Keep them private, not public.

Tip 21 – Control annoying habits

We all have them. Whether it’s scratching in places you shouldn’t scratch, picking your nose, adjusting your underwear, pulling on your eyelids, chewing gum, we don’t really want to talk about them. We especially don’t want others to know about them. You know what yours are. Force yourself to stop doing them when you are presenting.

Tip 22 – Wear appropriate clothing

Are your learners seeing too much leg or too much chest hair? Are you participants better dressed than you are? Is what your wearing a good reflection on your organization? If not, it’s time to update your wardrobe. If your attendees are in blue jeans, a tux is obviously not appropriate. Likewise, if the audience is in business attire, blue jeans are likely not aligned. The point is to consider audience and sponsor expectations and key your wardrobe choices off of those expectations.

Tip 23 – Manage perspiration and odor

Some of us perspire easily. Unfortunately, sweat pouring off your forehead and underarm puddles suggests nervousness. There are a few strategies that can help prevent this problem. Use a strong antiperspirant. Control the room temperature. Have a face towel handy. Set a fan on the floor aimed up at you. And above all, control your nerves by being confident in you and your material.

Some us…well…smell. Ask someone you trust to be honest with you. And then take action on what they tell you. If your breath sometimes smells, have mints at hand. If you smoke, wear a smock or take your outer garments off before smoking. If people gag on your perfume, cut back. If you deliver a cornucopia of scents—different shampoo, hairspray, cologne, and body spray—opt for one or two multi-purpose products.

What related tips do you have? Feel free to share.

In the next article of this series we will examine ways to open with impact as we offer 100 tips for delivering a masterful presentation that will leave them cheering for more.