Posted by Robert Half on Friday, August 29, 2014 - 00:00 | Follow me
You may not have realized it as you sat spellbound by sequined celebrities, but the 66th annual Primetime Emmy Awards were educational. All those introductions and acceptance speeches provided a number of useful presentation tips that you can apply to your career. Before launching into your next PowerPoint deck, consider these four lessons learned from the Emmys:
1. Stick to what you do best
Saturday Night Live alum Seth Meyers may have gotten mixed reviews for his understated opening, but the fact is that he did what he does best: straight stand-up comedy. No cast of thousands, no show tunes. You may have received presentation tips from others advising you to add video, audio, and all sorts of bells and whistles. If you’re creative and you’ve got the knowledge to use these tools, go for it. If not, these extras can drag you down. Instead, focus on the key messages you want to get across. Good content can stand on its own.
2. Keep it fresh
Breaking Bad’s Bryan Cranston and Veep’s Julia Louis-Dreyfus briefly stole the show with a hilariously heated smooch, a reference to their first on-screen kiss years ago on Seinfeld. Whether you’re in the Nokia Theater or the fifth-floor conference room, humor can work wonders, especially when it’s unexpected. Don’t be afraid to throw in a twist to keep the audience on your side, as long as it’s not a kiss!
3. Don’t go there
Academy president Bruce Rosenblum’s words were accompanied by a strapless Sophia Vergara spinning on a pedestal like a car at an auto show. The Twitter-sphere instantly erupted with accusations of sexism. You want your presentation remembered for its content, not its controversy. Stay away from contentious issues and questionable jokes. If you’re thinking about pushing the boundaries, know your audience, so you can toe the line, not go over it.
4. Prepare, prepare, prepare
You only get one shot at the big presentation, and a little bit of rehearsing can go a long way. Gwen Stefani prompted a collective facepalm when she announced, “And the Emmy goes to … The Colbore Report.” (Nation, have we learned nothing from John Travolta?) Of all our presentation tips, this may be the most important to remember.
What are your favorite presentation tips? Share your thoughts below.