Here is a compilation from my presentation skills training workshops and one to one coaching sessions of what is involved in delivering an excellent presentation. Whether you are presenting at a staff meeting, conference, briefing, oral proposal or in a one to one meeting, the following are the keys to success.

  • Practice… Practice … Practice —– live audience or before a video camera
  • Speakers commandment #1 – don’t be boring
  • Speakers commandment #2 – never wing it.
  • Smile as much as appropriate
  • Turn off your cell phone before arriving
  • Always arrive early — make sure everything works
  • Be prepared to deliver your presentation without slides if something goes wrong
  • Bring backups of anything you may need
  • People are judging you as soon as you walk in the room. Your first impression will be a lasting impression
  • Dress appropriately for your audience
  • Stand by the door and cheerfully greet all attendees as they arrive
  • Never go over the time you’ve been allotted. If possible end early
  • Update your presentation on a regular basis to get the latest trends, thoughts and ideas
  • Always build pauses in your presentations – people need time to absorb your main points
  • Don’t talk down to the audience
  • Be authentic
  • Use vocal variety
  • Be prepared
  • Always pause after laughter
  • Follow the AT&T rule for humor: It needs to be appropriate, timely and tasteful
  • Use relevant stories – this is what people will remember
  • Have a strong opening and a strong closing
  • Always use your own style
  • A presentation is just a conversation
  • Exaggerate your body language and expressions
  • Watch your language —- Be politically correct
  • Avoid talking about sex, politics and religion
  • Be enthusiastic – People are more convinced by your energy, enthusiasm and conviction than by anything else.
  • Every 3 to 5 minutes have a story, anecdote, example, exercise or question
  • Be sensitive to the audience’s wants and needs — Observe body language and words to see if they are into your presentation
  • Always use a remote hand held clicker vs. using the laptop to advance slides
  • Videotape every presentation and review on a regular basis
  • Know your audience and focus on their needs, challenges and concerns
  • Your presentation is not about you
  • Make sure your appearance is appropriate for the group
  • Don’t let negative or critical feedback pull you down. Remember, it’s not personal
  • Always repeat the question and look at everyone when answering
  • Tell people to take out their cell phones during your presentation and twitter ideas, thoughts and best practices.
  • Use new material. Keep up to date with the news, relevant stories, etc.
  • Be prepared if things don’t work. If projector is not working, keep going without it.
  • Make sure all presentations have a combination of interactivity, fun and content.
  • If a couple people give you bad reviews out of a room of 50 ignore them.  Focus on the ones that like you.