Today I am thrilled to bring you an article by Pam Stanton, 'The Project Whisperer':
The Project Manager as Orator: Top Ten Presentation Tips
Management requires a broad range of skills. I joke sometimes that
it requires being a "coach, den mother, drill sergeant, teacher, and
therapist"-all rolled into one.
In addition to understanding project management methodology and
group dynamics, we are often called upon to serve as spokesperson
for the team. We find ourselves standing in front of a room full of
executives explaining the project or requesting funding. This adds "orator"
to the long list of leadership skills we must command.
The ability to speak in front of an audience doesn't come naturally
for many of us. It may surprise some to know that I started out
twenty years ago absolutely terrified to even introduce myself in a
group meeting. I can attest that training and practice can produce a
presenter who actually loves to be on stage. If this is something
that doesn't come naturally to you, don't be concerned. For most
people, it requires training and practice.
Here are some of my best presentation tips gleaned over the years.
There are many books and resources available to learn presentation
techniques. Make sure you're ready to hop up in front of that
conference room and deliver an effective message.
Top 10 Presentation Tips for Project Managers:
- Know What You Want: Make sure you understand the purpose of
the presentation, or the desired outcome. If your boss asks you to come
to an executive session to update the leadership team, dig in further.
Do you need their support or approval for a particular aspect? Is there
anything that's controversial? What do they need to know, and why?
- Structure Your Presentation Around the Desired Outcome: Start off
the presentation stating your intent. Don't leave this as a surprise punch
line for the end. It's a tendency for Project Managers to want to build the
case, and then deliver the "ask" at the end. This can confuse your audience,
especially if they are senior executives who will be thinking "what do you
want from me?" For example, if the purpose of your presentation is to gain
support for a change in business process, then start out by saying that.
Tell them you will be providing the supporting details and then at the end
you will open it up for a discussion. This primes your audience to be
- Make Your Visuals VISUAL: Challenge yourself to use as few
PowerPoint slides as possible. The best presentation I ever saw was one
slide with one graphic on it, which the speaker used to illustrate his
points as he talked through the presentation. Use images and pictures
whenever possible. If translating complicated words into simple graphics
doesn't come naturally to you, find someone who has this ability and ask for
You definitely want to click here and read the remaining 7 tips!
About Pam Stanton
Want to use this article in your eZine or web site?
Pam Stanton is the owner of Heart, Brains, & Courage, LLC, the
parent entity for "Pam Stanton,
The Project Whisperer" and "Perspectives
Pam lives in the western woods of New Jersey with her husband,
daughter, step-daughter, and five furry critters. She enjoys
visiting foreign cultures, pistol shooting, fishing, art photography,
and all holidays involving food or gifts.