Presenting on Stage and Screen

I’ve been asked on numerous occasions for advice when presenting business presentation on stage and to camera, so I’ve put together some general tips—some of my own and others from various sources, but all important points to take on board if you want to get your message across clearly and professionally.

PowerPoint Tips

  • Stand 10 Feet back from your computer screen, does it still look good? Can you still read it?
  • Avoid busy or cluttered slides.
  • Avoid fonts smaller than 20 point. They will be hard to read for the audience.
  • Keep a ‘Safe Area’ around the edge of your slide. The images projected on projection screens is less than what is displayed on a laptop or desktop screen, so material at extreme edges may be lost.
  • Use colours that compliment each other (e.g. dark background, light colored font / vice versa) try to avoid red text.
  • Know the transitions and builds in the presentation. Are builds automatic or do they need to be clicked?
  • For general session presentations, expect to have your presentation loaded onto a show computer or have your computer at a backstage location, not at the podium.

Videos, Flash, Movies

  • DVDs are very unreliable, so are generally not recommend for critical show applications. Contact your project manager about solid alternatives that can be depended on.
  • If you choose to embed flash or other video, test it at least twice on the show computer. Sometimes, the video files stop at the end and don’t rewind, so they fail to play the second time through.
  • Moving video requires a powerful computer with a powerful video card; standard laptops often glitch or hang when playing video. The show computers we provide can successfully play most videos.
  • Make sure you have all of your linked files with your presentation on your CD or USB drive. It is always best to supply your speaker support content a few days in advance.

On Camera Tips

Clothing

  • White shirts reflect too much light, choose a subtle color like light blue or beige.
  • Choose an outfit that looks good when standing and comfortable when sitting.
  • Remember that cameras are sometimes placed at low levels, so avoid short skirts and opt instead for trousers or longer skirts.
  • Avoid wearing distracting trims like large bows or numerous ruffles.
  • Remove pens and eyeglasses from pockets.
  • Avoid small, high-contrast patterns or lines, like herringbone, as well as bold checks or plaids. Solid colors with a colorful scarf or tie look good.

Colour

  • Mild or pastel colors and subtle patterns work best under television lights.
  • Avoid pure white and black clothing, as they make skin tones appear harsh.
  • Bright reds and oranges sometimes “bleed” or smear on television; avoid them.

Accessories

  • Avoid shiny, reflective jewellery; it reflects light and can damage cameras or create a flaring effect.
  • Choose solid-colored accessories or those with simple patterns that don’t appear too busy.
  • Keep jewelry simple so it doesn’t make noise when you move your head or body.
  • Avoid dangling earrings which can distract viewers.

Makeup

  • For Women: foundation and lipstick help to keep you from looking tired or washed out. Don’t wear dark, heavy makeup colours; television tends to create its own natural shadows.
  • For Men: shave before appearing if you have “5 o’clock shadow” or use a powder close to your skin colour to lessen the appearance of your beard. A light powdering on balding heads can minimise shine.

Body Language

  • SMILE! This makes you look confident and comfortable. Avoid nervous fidgeting with pens, glasses, coins, etc.
  • Be aware of your posture. Keep shoulders relaxed and both feet on the floor.
  • Maintain eye contact with your interviewer. Even if someone else is talking, the camera is still on and you may be showing in the shot.
  • Continue to participate in the conversation by using body language to show your interest.

I hope you find this useful useful for your next presentation.