"Top Ten Presentation Tips"
By Roberta Prescott
“Whenever I see a young
person make a great presentation, I never forget. Unfortunately
the opposite is also true.” Jack Welch
When your career is on the line,
your presentation skills must be at the same high level as your business
skills. Following are some tips that will help you be perceived
as a confident and effective presenter when it matters:
1. Relate to your AUDIENCE, not to your handouts or visuals.
steady eye contact. It connects you to your
audience and personalizes your presentation. Think of
S-T-O-P or Single – Thought – One – Person (3-6
- Don’t turn your back and talk to the screen.
2. Control your BODY LANGUAGE. Use gestures that
- Seen (above your waist)
- Sustained (for longer than you would
in one-on-one conversation)
- Specific to the message
- Stand centered with your weight evenly
on both feet.
- Don’t fiddle with pen, change in your pocket,
3. Be CONVERSATIONAL
- Slow down. No machine gun delivery.
- In conversation we
talk in word bursts and sentence fragments and then PAUSE to think
of what to say next.
It helps your audience, as well.
- Keep your eyes out of your notes
or you will sound stilted.
4. Be vocally CRISP. This will help you sound
dynamic, and will
eliminate a droning monotone.
- Shorten your sentence lengths
to average 14-17 words.
- Intersperse short punchy sentences among
- Purge the connectors “and” and “so”,
which cause your sentences to go on and on.
5. Use POSITIVE LANGUAGE.
- Take a stand.
- “Here’s what I think, and here’s why.”
- “I’ve looked at this, and it makes sense to
- “My analysis shows … “
- Tentative language
- “I think this might work.”
- “We kind of have to get things moving.”
- “I just want to say…”
- “Correct me if I’m wrong.”
- “You’ve probably already thought about this but…”
- “This might not be helpful, but…”
- “basically”, “um”, “you know”, “okay?”
6. Organize a FOCUSED MESSAGE.
- Think strategically about the
big picture and the business
impact of your presentation.
- Get to the point quickly.
- Focus on the relevance or benefit
of a product or service, not on how it works.
- Don’t talk
too long or say too much.
7. Have a STRONG ENDING.
- Don’t overrun the meter.
- Ask for action instead of the most
common and least
effective “well, that’s it, I guess”, close.
Like golf, improving your skills takes real work, not repetition.
your opening and your close .
- Transitions are the key to a
smooth and polished
presentation. Use one rehearsal to practice only your
transitions from one point to the next.
9. LIGHTEN UP.
- Take your job seriously, but not yourself.
- A light touch does
not mean telling jokes. It means having a sense of humor.
10. Anticipate challenging QUESTIONS and practice your answers. (See
our next newsletter for strategies to master this subject).
Perception often IS reality. These tips will ensure that when
you give a presentation, the perception of you is positive and matches
The Prescott Group