guiding the career in public relations

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May 11th, 2017 · 1 Comment

DePaul PR/AD students give non-boring "final exam" presentations.

DePaul PR/AD students give non-boring “final exam” presentations.

By Tim Conway

During past decade as Adjunct Faculty at Roosevelt and DePaul universities, I’ve been periodic judge for small group presentations.

Conclusion: Most teams give weak last-class presentations.

Main reasons for snoozzzzzzzer talks:  Too many cluttered slides (excess copy/data); lack of cohesion/flow/imagination; minimal rehearsal.


  1. Try proven speaking techniques: Ask surprising question or “wow statement/statistic” up front (Objective: engross crowd early); use consistent theme from Beginning/Middle/End; display easy-to-grasp bar/pie charts; make smooth transitions; close with clear call-to-action (request attendees to immediately do something [meet-up, referral, invest]).
  1. Take more risks. Use only 1-2 “trigger words/numbers” per storyboard/slide, along with stunning art, to spur talking points; weave-in intriguing-yet-relevant anecdotes.

Point-of-view:  Since humans are numb to slides due to over-exposure, you might skip this device for alternatives (e.g., note cards, draw on whiteboard).

  1. Use entire room as a theater; control all elements throughout session (seating, lights, Agenda, video, music, props [samples, business cards]).
  1. Allot significant effort for practice (delegate roles: select best/lead speaker, pick teammates to unveil product/diagrams and research Q&A); videotape with timer. Double-check:  can speaker(s) be heard in back of room?

Tips:  Dress appropriately; introduce yourself/group; address everyone (not just panelists); never turn back to crowd; don’t distribute hand-out until end since many will read; respond to inquiries afterwards; borrow/buy wireless remote to advance slides.

  1. Watch tape together (agree on content edits required to stay-on-story and to achieve time limit; cut amount of material; anticipate toughest questions [do dry-runs to ensure succinct replies]).

Expert approaches to consider:

Resources for information graphics and royalty-free, stock photos: Presentation templates and Getty Images.

Through dedication to process improvement, you’ll gain:  self-esteem/professionalism; collaboration skills; higher in-class score/on-the-job performance evaluation.  Plus, crucial messages will be understood.

Tim Conway with dog  Chicagoan Tim Conway guides students/executives to devise profitable business models.  He often gives rambling monologues to inattentive daughters and Clifford (two-year old cockapoo who doesn’t critique Tim’s syntax).










Tags: Guest Post

1 response so far ↓

  • 1 Lauren // Jun 7, 2017 at 7:47 am

    My name is Lauren and I am a senior at Southeast Missouri State University. This article was so insightful, and so helpful. All points have been taken into consideration! I struggle to present when it comes to making my point something that my audience is interested in as well. I believe I speak well, practice a lot, and use the whole room although, I’m always worried about boring my audience. You had mentioned to use trigger words, and statistics, but what about video clips, or audio in presentations? Will that help or hurt my presentation?

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