MGMA Speaker Resource Center

Deliver a Presentation

Your guide to reaching your audience

Speaking at an industry event is an opportunity for both personal and professional growth. The effort you expend to reach your audience will strengthen your communication skills in all aspects of your career. The MGMA Speaker Resource Hub provides a great deal of information to help you become a better presenter and ensure that you get the most from your conference speaking experience.

Expanding Item - View More Face-to-Face Presentation Requirements, Tips and Resources

Delivering attention-grabbing, audience-centered presentations should be the goal of all conference speakers. This is why presentation delivery is so important. The information below will help you present in a way that will educate, influence, entertain and persuade your audience.


Expanding Item - View More Face-to-Face Speaker Engagement Tips

Reminders at the podium – Don't forget to review these podium tips as your presentation date approaches.

Participant polling – Take the pulse of the room and use polls to query the audience about their thoughts, their practices or their understanding of your topic. At the beginning of your presentation, consider testing their knowledge of your topic and adjusting your content accordingly.

  • Tool options:
    • Poll Everywhere: Free, web-based tool that allows audience responses from a text message-enabled phone, Twitter or the web.

Question-and-answer tools – Avoid the post-presentation shuffle to the microphone and allow attendees to post their inquiries throughout your presentation. Consider stopping to answer time-sensitive questions throughout the discussion or posing others to the audience at the end. Tools like Google Moderator will also allow attendees to crowd source the most buzzed-about questions and topics.

  • Tool options:
    • Google Moderator: Free, web-based tool that allows the audience to decide which questions, suggestions or ideas interest them most by submitting and voting on questions. (Google account required.)
    • Live Question Tool: Free, web-based tool that invites audience members to submit questions and vote on others.

Back-channel communication – Generate buzz among attendees and encourage audience members to share links, respond to questions or add their own commentary through an outside channel, such as social media. Consider assigning a specific hash tag to your session so attendees can relate their Twitter or Facebook posts to your session and consider "seeding" the conversation by using Twtpoll to ask attendees questions or mining the Twitter stream for questions or key ideas.

  • Tool options:
    • Twitter: Free, web-based tool that allows participants to have a back-channel conversation by following a hash tag that's been set up around the event. (Twitter account required.)
    • Facebook: Free, web-based tool that allows participants to have a back-channel conversation by following a hash tag that's been set up around the event. (Facebook account required.)
    • Eight Tips for Managing the Twitter Back Channel During Your Presentation (Blog Post) Olivia Mitchell offers frank and useful advice for engaging your audience using Twitter and avoiding letting the audience take control.

Participant collaboration – Consider asking attendees to contribute to discussion questions and share collective knowledge as you present. Set up a publicly shared document with seeded discussion questions or prompts and return to the document throughout your presentation to note any key ideas. Ideal for brief team work during extended workshops.

  • Tool options:
    • Google Docs: Free, cloud-based tool that allows attendees to create a document and share the link with fellow collaborators.

Expanding Item - View More Podium Tips

Seven Things to Remember at the Podium

  1. Speak up and be heard. Use the microphone to ensure that everyone in the room can hear your presentation and to improve the quality of any recording in progress. Test the audio before you begin speaking and ask if you can be heard clearly. Even if your voice projects, err on the side of using the microphone – you will not be too loud.
  2. Hello, my name is ... Briefly introduce yourself and your institution, and explain your expertise as it relates to the topic. Find ways to learn more about your participants such as asking for a show of hands to pinpoint their functional areas or quickly polling them to gauge their expertise as related to the topic. Strive to accomplish this in under five minutes. Be sure that you keep your personal introduction brief. Remember, the audience is there to learn about your topic, not your employment history.
  3. Repeat questions for others. When attendees stand up to ask a question, they are directing it – and their voices – toward the front of the room, making it difficult for other participants to hear. Take a moment to repeat each question for others before answering.
  4. Keep the topic hot. If participants start to disengage, employ strategies such as stopping for Q&A, polling the audience or sharing a story related to the topic. Consider preparing someone in the audience to seed a question in the event that the audience is not responding.
  5. Keep it conversational. Smile, keep your chin up and strike a conversational tone. Make sure you are speaking slowly enough for people to hear and follow your points. Mark Twain was right: A well-timed pause can be valuable. As tempting as it may be, especially if you are nervous and worried about skipping a critical point, do not read your presentation. You will do much better if you just glance at bullets that remind you of what you want to convey.
  6. Keep the time. Keep tabs on the clock to leave enough time for participant dialogue. Ask your session convener – or another volunteer – to warn you when your time is ending.
  7. Continue the conversation. Provide ways for the participants to easily connect with you and access your resources and materials after the session. Consider providing your email address, website or Twitter ID and indicate what materials you will make available in the conference proceedings (PowerPoint slides, URLS, etc.).

What do you need help with?

ProposalI'm preparing a proposal to speak at an upcoming event.

Present I'm looking for ideas to design an effective presentation for online or face-to-face delivery, as well as deliver take-home tools and resources for my audience.

ImproveI'm looking for tips and ideas to improve my presentation and facilitate audience engagement for face-to-face or online delivery.

LeverageI want to leverage my presentation into more professional development opportunities.