Promote Your Personal Brand Through Good Presentations

Many people I hear speak at events in Silicon Valley are quite good at it, especially when they are passionately connected to their topic. Otherwise it can get pretty boring and dull listening to speakers who obviously prepared this speech the night before and adapted it to the boring, overloaded PPT format that Marketing put together.

And if people don’t want to listen to you and think you can’t present your ideas, your personal brand definitely won’t shine.

When you begin writing the presentation, don’t give in to the urge to open your computer and throw yourself into your empty PPT slides in the hopes that you can write the presentation as you go along.

Here are some tips to solidify your personal brand by giving an A+ presentation:

1. Know your audience.

I took a class from Nancy Duarte LINK to nancyduarte.com where the emphasis was first and foremost on identifying the audience, analyzing why people are coming to hear you and gearing your entire presentation to addressing them. If you can pinpoint your audiences’ needs, you will be ahead of the game because many presenters don’t have a clue to whom they are talking. I was at event the other day in Palo Alto, where a woman from a major company told us – in detail – about social media and how her company was engaging in it.The problem is that we’ve been familiar with social media and how to use it for many years now; the result was a painfully boring speech, so of course we were all of our iphones checking on email. However, I don’t even know if she noticed, she just plowed right ahead, reading from her slides until the end.

2. Keep your slides free from any sentences. And don’t use bullet points either.

Keep your slides short, no sentences except for in the titles. Cliff Attkinson, www.beyondbullets.com/ in his book Beyond Bullet Points, writes that the best way to write the presentation is to put complete sentences on the slide titles so if listeners could see the slides in slide sorter view, they would know what the talk is about. Otherwise, in your slides you have 3 words (and remember one idea per slide) and maybe a graph or a picture. People are coming to listen to you, not to read your presentation. Go to slideshare.net for further inspiration.

3. Tell a story or tell many stories.

Jennifer Aaker, who is a fabulous professor at Stanford University’s GSB, once said in a lecture I attended, that the thing her students remember the most are the stories she tells that go along with her teaching – and not necessarily the academic theories she was promoting. And isn’t that the truth? Don’t you remember the stories someone told more than the other parts of the presentation?When I work with my international clients and they present their presentations with their complicated theories, I always ask them to think of a story they can tell which will clarify and make their points memorable.

Therefore, when you are beginning to develop your presentation – remember, on paper and not in front of your computer – think about the stories that you can tell to go along with all of your theories and concepts. That’s the way you will connect with your audience.There is a new platform on which you can gather your stories together ahead of time, and check the various social media listed for ideas; here are my first attempts on using “storify”, http://www.storify.com/angelikab; try it and make your story collections better.

Remember, how you appear to your audience, to your listeners, will have a huge impact on how they perceive you and that ultimately is your brand. Because as you know, it isn’t how you think of yourself, but rather how people see you that brands you.


Angelika BlendstrupAngelika Blendstrup is an expert at International Business Communications: Personal Branding, Accent Reduction, Presentation/VC Pitch Training; Author & Speaker Professional Business Communications.