Trust me – people aren’t interested in your life history. My wife went to a presentation by an expert who spent the first hour of a two hour presentation talking about himself. The presentation ended up taking three hours. Do you think she was impressed?
So what do you tell people about yourself? The short answer is: just enough to justify them listening to you on this particular topic . You can add a longer bio to your handout material if you consider it necessary. Another good tip is to get someone to introduce you and your credentials, but be careful, they might skew your resume in a way you don’t want.
The hardest part is not to sound as if you’ve got tickets on yourself.
If I was introducing myself to a group about presentation skills, I’d probably say something like:
Presentation skills is a topic I’m really passionate about. Over the past year I’ve conducted workshops in Europe, the Middle East and Australia for large corporates, as well as sessions for smaller companies. As a former colonel in the Army, a sales manager, musician and radio announcer, I enjoy the presentation atmosphere and would like to share some of my experience with you today.
I haven’t mentioned that I speak French, design websites and love surfing. That’s because it’s not relevant to the presentation I’m giving.
Company Credentials and Background
In a previous post I mentioned:
He’s going to show you a powerpoint presentation of a building and carpark, a map of the world, a chronology of the company development, every product they’ve ever made, and a slide with the logos of all of the customers they’ve ever dealt with.
Resist the temptation. Put all of this stuff in the handout and only present what is absolutely necessary for the group to know. For instance, I was working with a company that had 40 “About Us” slides and reduced it to one:
That’s all the audience need to know. After you present this, say something like:
That’s a very brief overview, and I’m sure you don’t want to see the head office buiding and the carpark, but is there anything else you’d like to know?