Toolkit for better speeches and public speaking

Top Tips: How to Prepare for a Presentation

May 26, 2011

If you have a presentation coming up, here is a step-by-step guide to make your life easier.

This summarises many of the points that arise when we work with our clients to develop confident and effective presentations.

You will save yourself a huge amount of time by following this planning process and use the right tools:


1. Do NOT open PowerPoint

2. Be clear on who your audience is and what you want to achieve. For example, you might be addressing just 10 people in an audience of 1000; or you might want everyone in the room to change their behaviour slightly. The more tightly you define your objective, the greater your chance of success. The better you understand your audience, their fears, concerns and desires, the more focused you will be.

3. Have a single message that summarises your talk – boil down what you want to say into a single sentence or phrase that encapsulates your presentation. Avoid vague statements like “I want to tell them about our new product” The sharper this message, the better.

4. Break down your presentation into clear parts – a three part structure is often the most effective. For each part of your presentation, have a clear message.

5. Start your presentation with a high impact statement – work out something that will make people sit up and listen. Tell them what you are going to tell them.  Get them excited.

6. Identify stories, anecdotes and examples – ones you can use to support your messages. The more you illustrate what you want to say with a real story, the more powerful your presentation becomes. The best stories are personal real life examples. Bring it to life with memorable phrases.

7. Finish your presentation with a clear message, request or call to action – what you say last will be remembered best.

8. Use good clear simple language – cut out all jargon or corporate speak

9. Incorporate pauses, short sentences, great eye contact – a presentation is a performance. If you look and sound good there is a better chance of success in your presentation

10. Work out what questions you could be asked – practice how you will answer them using tried and tested question answering techniques.

11. Now, work out if you really need any visual aids or handouts – you may now decide that some charts, diagrams, pictures will help get your message across even more powerfully.

12. Practise, practise, practise – use a critical knowledgeable audience and a camera to refine your performance.  The more your rehearse and perfect, the better you will get.

If you want individual help preparing and perfecting your next presentation, please  contact us today


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