business public speaking coaching

How to improve your business presenting skills

January 22, 2021

“How do you improve your business presenting skills?”

We are often asked for a few tips on improving business presenting skills.

To complement the various guides available (see right) and courses we run, here is some practical advice to help you polish your presenting skills.


If you want really good business presenting skills, you may need to re-think how you prepare

If you, like most people, switch to PowerPoint as soon as you hear the word ‘presentation’, then we have something to show you.

We suggest you completely re-engineer how you approach your presentations.

First, forget PowerPoint.

The best presentations start with a lot of thinking and a blank sheet of paper.

So, before you write anything, you need to:


1. Work out exactly who your audience is

For example, it it really everyone in the room, or just those 5 people who matter?

2. Be clear on what you want to achieve with your presentation

For example, are you really going to sell the idea at this stage, or do you just want a second meeting?

3. Plan a Hook

How will you grab attention early on

4. Identify Your Main Message

The one think that will get remembered from your talk.


Help me become a better presenter

The time you spend transforming your presentation at this stage will save you hours later on.

And you will improve your presenting skills.

In fact, if you do a good job in planning, you may never use PowerPoint at all, and no longer waste time editing your slide deck.

This approach to preparing a presentation is used in our training.

In this way our clients create and deliver highly impressive and high impact presentations fast and efficiently.

Help me become a better presenter
imporve your presenting skills

How to improve your presenting skills – Tips from the experts

1. “There is nothing so useless as doing efficiently that which should not be done at all.” Peter F Drucker

What this means is that sometimes you should not be preparing a presentation.

For example, should you write a memo, just have a chat, or outline your thinking without PowerPoint.

Remember, leaders rarely use PowerPoint.


2. “If you can’t write your idea on the back of my calling card, you don’t have a clear idea.” David Belasco

What this means is that any great presentation has just one big idea behind it.

That is the hard bit about preparing a presentation.


3. “Making the simple complicated is commonplace; making the complicated simple, awesomely simple, that’s creativity.” Charles Mingus

What this means is that your job as a presenter is to make it easy for your audience.

The easier your presentation is to understand, the better you are as a presenter.

Help me become a better presenter

4. “For an author to write as he speaks is just as reprehensible as the opposite fault, to speak as he writes; for this gives a pedantic effect to what he says, and at the same time makes him hardly intelligible.” Arthur Schopenhauer

What this means is that spoken language and written language are completely different.

To present well you need to learn about powerful spoken language.  Read more here.

Similarly, don’t confuse written document and visual aids.  They are as different as a book and a film.


5. “The most valuable of all talents is that of never using two words when one will do.”   Thomas Jefferson

What this means is that presentations are made in the edit and the practice.

One of the greatest mistakes you can make is to put too much into your presentation.  Instead say less, and say it better.


Help me become a better presenter

6. “Out of intense complexities intense simplicities emerge.   Broadly speaking, the short words are the best, and the old words when short are best of all.” Winston Churchill

See the link above on Power Langauge.

The language of leadership is clear and simple.


7. “The shorter and the plainer the better.” Beatrix Potter

You can achieve much more with a short presentation than a long one.

A great planning tool is to summarise your talk in just one minute.  If it works well in one minute it will work well as a longer presentation.

Keep hammering away at your one minute version of your presentation until it is tight and compelling.


Help me become a better presenter

8. “The right word may be effective, but no word was ever as effective as a rightly timed pause.” Mark Twain

The Pause.

The presentation master’s true friend.

You should pause every 5-12 words.

You’ll sound more authoritative.


9. “Don’t be nervous. Do just as I do. Whenever I get up to speak, I always make a point of taking a good look around the audience. Then I say to myself, ‘What a lot of silly fools.’ And then I always feel better.” Winston Churchill

Nerves are natural.

The trick is to hide any tells.

We have a great toolbox of tricks to transform nervous presenters into compelling communicators.


10. “The more I practise the luckier I get. Gary Player

Great presenters practise, a lot.

The more you practise, the better you will become.


How to improve your business presenting skills

If you want to learn more about becoming a compelling presenter, speak to us.

We have been coaching presenters for the last 10 years transforming them into great confident speakers.


Help me become a better presenter


About Benjamin Ball Associates

Benjamin Ball Associates Team

Benjamin Ball Associates helps clients to communicate better.

Over 12+ years the award-winning BBA team has coached thousands of senior executives globally to present themselves brilliantly. You get access to a transformational toolbox of techniques to help you become a clear, confident communicator.

We’ll help you create a powerful first impression that hooks and engages your audience immediately and we’ll transform you to deliver clearly, confidently and with impact.

Speak to Louise on +44 20 7018 0922 or email to find out more and discuss your upcoming speech or presentation.


Contact us to transform your presenting skills

More valuable advice...

Fundraising Presentations: an essential guide for persuading investors

Mar 21, 2021

Your Essential Guide to Fundraising Presentations. Are you looking forward to challenging questions from investors, long days and multiple meetings?...

Read More

The Best Investor Presentation – How to create one – techniques from psychology

Apr 13, 2016

Five ways to create the best investor presentation If you want investment, you need the best investor presentation. But investment...

Read More

Why good public speaking skills make you a better leader

Nov 11, 2016

Do your leadership public speaking skills inspire, motivate and influence others? They should. Many leaders are nervous of public speaking....

Read More

Five Golden Rules to Create a Great Investor Pitch Book

Mar 10, 2018

A great investor pitch book is at the heart of successful fundraising. You use it to capture the essence of...

Read More

Why Body Language Matters When Pitching to Win Business

Jun 29, 2012

Better Body Language We all know that body language is important in business.  But how important? And does is really...

Read More

Private Equity Fundraising Tips from the Experts: Become a Top 1% Fund

Sep 06, 2018

Five Top Fundraising Tips At SuperReturn Emerging Markets in Amsterdam, experienced LPs and advisors shared their private equity fundraising tips...

Read More

How to create a powerful investor elevator pitch

Mar 07, 2016

A great elevator pitch is an essential part of your pitch toolkit Last month I chaired the Quickfire Showcase elevator...

Read More

How to prepare for media interviews

Jan 16, 2013

You must prepare for media interviews The excruciating Newsnight interview with Treasury Minister Chloe Smith this summer is one example of...

Read More

How To Write So People Will Read – 6 Great Tips

Mar 11, 2018

How do you write well for business? Could you be more impressive with better writing? These days, we are writing...

Read More

How well do you answer difficult investor questions?

Nov 16, 2017

How to answer difficult investor questions When an investor questions how you calculated your Private Equity fund's performance, how do...

Read More

How to Choose a Public Speaking Coach

Aug 21, 2017

How do you choose a public speaking coach? When selecting a public speaking coach or presentation trainer, you want to work...

Read More

10 Power Language techniques to use in your next talk or presentation

Sep 06, 2017

How To Use Powerful Language For Leadership Communications   Great leaders use Power Language. It adds interest and colour to...

Read More

What is The “So What?” Test? – And how to use it.

Dec 30, 2019

So What? is probably your most important question. When you put your talk or presentation together, how do you decide what...

Read More

Better private equity fundraising | Seven tips for first investor meetings

Dec 10, 2015

What do LPs want from private equity funds at first investor meetings? That's the question I put to the panel...

Read More

How do you pitch investors?

Sep 21, 2016

What do investors really want? Six tips We wrote this piece with our Private Equity clients in mind. But there...

Read More

Give high impact talks and presentations – 5 simple tips

Mar 01, 2017

Do you want to give high impact talks and presentations? Do you want to engage your audience? And do you want...

Read More

Business storytelling for better business

Jul 05, 2020

How do you use storytelling in business ? Leaders use storytelling so that audiences listen, remember and act on what...

Read More

How to Make Your Investment Pitch More Memorable – Six Tips

Mar 29, 2017

How do you make your investment pitch more memorable? It's a real challenge these days. Investors have more opportunities than...

Read More

Effective presentation skills you must learn

Nov 30, 2019

Your leadership talks need to be effective As a leader, every talk or presentation you give is an exercise in...

Read More

What do LPs want from your private equity pitch book?

Oct 14, 2015

A well-crafted private equity pitch book can make the difference between securing a first meeting with investors and getting a...

Read More