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 our various free presenting and pitching guides 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
About Benjamin Ball Associates
At Benjamin Ball Associates, we help 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 email@example.com to find out more and discuss your upcoming speech or presentation.
Contact us for a chat about how Benjamin Ball Associates can help you.
What leaders say about Benjamin Ball Associates
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