Sponsored"How Do I Stop Saying 'Um'?" and Other FAQs About Presentations<a href="https://twitter.com/awesomeroar">Kevin Daum</a> for join.me3/25/14 1:00pmFiled to: join.meGIFhow you doasked and answered2EditPromoteShare to KinjaGo to permalink GIF Anyone who wants to be successful needs to learn how to present. It doesn't matter if you're sharing information online using software like join.me or if you're speaking to a large crowd — you should always feel confident and prepared. Of course, that's easier said than done. If you were captain of the debate team you may have been born ready, but if you were the math nerd who never presented in class, you probably need some practice. Below are some frequently asked questions I regularly answer as a professional speaker. Advertisement 1. How long should I make the presentation? In general, a good presentation is between 30 minutes and an hour long. Longer lectures are often given by professional performers who make their living by entertaining audiences. Most topics can be covered in shorter lectures with discussion. If you have too much information to deliver in one hour, consider breaking it up into multiple presentations to keep the audience interested.2. What should go on the slides? Your slides are a visual aid to support your speech. They are not your script. A lot of small type on a slide is confusing and won't help the audience retain information. Remember that the audience will only retain about 10% of what you say. The information on the slide should be bullets of the idea you want your audience to retain. I generally post a key takeaway followed by three to four bullet points supporting the concept. If you're not sure about the weight of your slides, use online meeting software like join.me to share your slides with a friend. Do a run-through with them and ask where the sticky points are — then remove them. Advertisement 3. How many slides should I use? Each slide should support about two to four minutes of speaking. So a one-hour presentation might have between 12 and 20 slides. Any more than that and you're probably providing too much information to be absorbed in a single sitting.4. Should I use pictures or video? Pictures can be useful to emphasize a point and help people remember. Make sure the pictures you use are truly worth 1000 words. Video is a useful tool only if it's relevant to the topic and conveys useful information. It also needs to be short so it doesn't get people off track and distracted.5. How do I stop saying "um..."? Stutters and awkward pauses happen when your brain does not know the material cold. The only way to get comfortable presenting is to practice… a lot. This is a performance and should be treated as such. You need to know the material you're presenting and then rehearse it many times. join.me has a record feature you can use that will let you review how well you present. Even with my theater and performance background, it takes me a minimum of seven rehearsals before I can relax and confidently deliver the presentation. Listening to the recordings also helps you control pace and make sure your diction is clear. Oh, and in my experience, imagining people in their underwear does not relax you, so don't bother. Sponsored 6. How can I be entertaining? There is an old adage about opening with a joke to warm people up. Humor is a powerful tool in speaking, but only if you actually have funny material and can deliver it with timing. Instead, focus on good storytelling. Make sure that anecdotes are relevant and have a beginning, middle, and end with descriptive detail. Understand your audience so you can tailor the information to be relevant. If you are unsure about your entertaining capability, use join.me to record a practice session and send it to friends for feedback.7. How long should I leave for Q&A? I build my presentations with a minimum of 10 minutes for questions and answers. You want enough time for people to engage in conversation but you want to keep things from dragging on if nothing valuable is being discussed. It's okay if you don't hit every topic. It's good to always leave them wanting more. Advertisement Advertisement 8. Should I give people handouts? Handouts can work against you in a presentation. The idea of letting your audience follow along may seem valid, but many people will simply move ahead and be distracted. They'll be looking down instead of paying attention to what you have to say. I prefer making the presentation available online afterward, or passing out a simple postcard leave-behind at the end to direct them to more information. Most handouts end up on the chair after everyone leaves anyway.9. How can I be memorable? Work to give your audience an a-ha moment. Spend less time discussing what they already know and focus on teaching them something new and interesting. Think about their perspective before they arrive, and how you want to change it by the time they leave. What will they want to tell their friends and colleagues about your presentation? What was different that they never experienced before? You can't always give them an awesome experience, but you never will if you don't at least consider these questions.An Inc. 500 entrepreneur with a more than $1 billion sales and marketing track record, Kevin Daum is the best-selling author of Video Marketing for Dummies and the executive producer of Amilya! on 77WABC New York. Follow him: @awesomeroar. This post is a sponsored collaboration between join.me and Studio@Gawker.