Presentation Tips From an Expert

Have you ever felt you needed a ‘booster shot’ of confidence for that important business presentation coming up? Or perhaps, you’d like a quick ‘refresher’ of some proven success strategies to get you off on the right track?

As a full-time speaker and presentation skill instructor, I’ve often been asked at parties and social gatherings “What tips would you suggest for an upcoming presentation I have?”

Here are 4 Quick Tips that I’ve shared more than once in the past with individuals at social gatherings:

  1. Focus on your Audience Not on Yourself! Take the heat off of yourself. The AUDIENCE & the MESSAGE are what is most important.
  2. Be Crystal Clear about your message! If you had to summarize the main point of your talk in one sentence, what would it be? I know it seems like a challenge but it’s critical. Your Audience does it all the time – with or without your help. Wouldn’t you like ‘their sentence’ to match ‘your sentence’?
  3. BE CONVINCED that your message will benefit the audience! They either WANT to know this, NEED to know this, or your message is somehow going to BENEFIT THEM. If you’re not sure that the message has value, what could you add to insure that it does? Confidence in the message and its value translates into speaker confidence. MORE VALUE FOR THE AUDIENCE = MORE CONFIDENCE FOR YOU! It’s a simple equation that works.
  4. Explain the numbers!… Especially if you are a technical or financial speaker. Don’t just report the numbers, explain what they mean. Is a 20% increase a good thing or a poor showing? Is $50K a high number or a low number relative to your context? Also, PAINT WORD PICTURES. It will help your Audience really grasp the significance of your data. For example, if I simply made a factual statement that 25,000 American men died annually of prostate cancer, almost everyone would say they ‘understood’ the information. But, simple understanding is NEVER the entire goal. We want people to REMEMBER what we say and TAKE ACTION on the information they receive. What if I could explain the same number in a way that connected at a deeper level of understanding?… one that would help the audience retain the information, or, perhaps, even motivate them to take action?

“Imagine a jumbo jet with 500 passengers crashing into the side of a mountain. The following week another plane crashes, with no survivors. The third week, another… for 52 weeks in a row! How many weeks would it take before we were all ‘up in arms’ demanding that the aviation industry do something to fix this? Yet, that is how many American men die each year from Prostate Cancer – a curable disease.”

Don’t just tell the numbers, find ways to explain the numbers and your audience will listen, understand and, perhaps, actually remember long enough to take action. Now, there is a GOAL worth having!

So the next time you are reflecting on your own upcoming presentation, pretend we just met last night at a party and chatted. Take a deep breath and relax knowing that any one of these tips can help you deliver your presentation with more confidence knowing that you are providing VALUE to your audience.