Public Speaking

A Couple Pointers on Becoming a Better Presenter

A friend of mine asked me to watch a presentation that he needed to give to 50-60 people on a business topic and give him some feedback. While he did good, I had a couple nuggets I’ve learned along the way that I was able to share with him. Here’s the write up of my suggestions on becoming a better presenter and giving better presentations.

Public Speaking

Presentation Skills

Why bother with presentation skills?

Because as you move up in business, it becomes imperative that you can present well. In order to influence, you must be able to communicate in a way that resonates with your audience.

Let’s focus on these two items you can use immediately:

First Challenge:

When you present, your projection and energy levels tail off. You start full of energy and finish looking drained. People in the back of the room struggle to hear you.

What you can do about it:

Cognitively make a concerted effort to speak to the person in the back of the room.

  • Pick someone in the back of the room in your head, then project your voice with a particular individual in mind so you are sure they hear you.
  • Assume you are fighting for their attention and you want it.
    • Move around in a fluid, controlled manner. Movement garners attention.
    • Animate your voice by increasing the timbre of your words. Project them appropriately, but raise/lower the pitch and put emphasis on certain words.

Speak with authority.

  • Study Obama or Clinton or Reagan. Notice how they always speak with certainty. If you project certainty, your audience will pick up that vibe.

Second Challenge:

Your messaging is not concise. You ramble and give too much detail that does not add much to the conversation. This leads to people losing interest in what you’re saying.

Why you do this:

Because you’re not rehearsed well enough.

What you can do about it:

  • “Amplify the signal – minimize the noise” – meaning you should focus on a key message and work on getting rid of things out of your presentation vs. adding things in.
  • Rehearse with written notes:
    • What is your key message you want to get across? You reinforce this at the beginning and the end. Your supporting points between should also be tied to the key message.
    • What are your 2-3 supporting points of your presentation?
      • Find and use a quick story that reinforces a point is good so as long as it’s concise. Move between story and fact / both logic and emotion. It draws the audience in.
      • Do not ad lib or randomly come up with more examples. They don’t add value. You’ve already thought through your best examples and have practiced them. Stick with them.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *