Subscription Options

April 14, 2009

10 common presentation tips

As part of my own consulting, as well as mentoring of colleagues and others that I come in contact with, I often give them the following tips on presentations. 

This is sort of a small summary of the one day presenting skills course that I have developed over the past couple of years. I hope it is of use and of interest to you. (And if it is please share it with others)

And yes.. this means you need to revisit that presentation and cut it to ribbons.
1. Drink water about 20 minutes before speaking. It makes you think better. (Fact!) THis is good for interviews, exams and negotiations by the way.

2. Don't just use the bog-standard Power Point Fonts. (

3. Use open gestures. Do not point at anybody except with the back of your hands. (Flowing movement) Do not hide behind the flipchart. (Please!!)

4. Images win over text. The presentationis not your teleprompter, it is there for the audience. iStockphoto, Google Images, Flickr and Photobucket are all low cost sources of images. (Careful of copyright)

5. If you must use text then be creative. Don't write everything you know, only the points they need to remember. Don't use ten words when two will do, you can add it later verbally. 
Do use scrolling, don't accentuate every word. Do change sizes, colors, etcetera.

6. Relax - they want you to succeed. (normally)

7. Remember the rule of thirds. Cut your screen into thirds and make sure that you place items in the right places. (For good perspective)

8. Be conversational, be socratic. (Ask questions)

9. State your claim. In your first minute or two make it quite clear that you have the right to be there talking to them about this theme. The more important you are the smaller introduction you need. (Anybody ever ask "who's Elvis?")

You aren't Elvis, so until you are you need to make sure everyone is comfortable spending the money they have spent. 

10. Take questions during the presentation. You dont want to get into the situation where a) you take questions from the most important person in the room but not everyone else, or b) you tell the most important person in the room to shut up.

Not an exhaustive list, but a good starting point for anybody about to present. 

Related Posts