I’ve been asking evaluators and non-evaluators to reflect upon great presentations. How can you make sure your message really sticks with the audience? These conversations will inform the American Evaluation Association’s new Potent Presentations Initiative (P2I).

I recently chatted with my dad to find out what impresses him most during conference presentations. During his 25+ years as an economist for the federal government, he’s watched his fair share of good and bad conference sessions. Here are my dad’s must-have elements to include in a conference presentation:

  • Clean humor (preferably somewhat related to presentation, audience, or current events), including self-effacing humor
  • Personalize with the audience
  • Allow questions as you go and be flexible but not too flexible
  • Know your audience’s needs and general knowledge level (beforehand)
  • Be accessible afterwards
  • Know beforehand what you can and cannot say regarding the group (agency, company) you are representing

What must-haves would you add to this list?

– Ann Emery