Hire Alan S. , a brainy Business Coach from LONDON, United Kingdom | Expertbase

Presenting To Win

Quick Summary

Your whole body is trembling with fear - but a stiff drink won't help. Your voice has almost disappeared - but you don't need a doctor. Your mind has gone completely blank - but you haven't developed amnesia. The real reason? - you're just about to make a presentation.
Presentation Skills
3 min
570 Words
3.17 K
One of the certainties of corporate life is that you will be asked to make presentations, and the outcome could have far-reaching effects. Perhaps this is why many people show symptoms of blind panic when the dread day dawns. However, being given the opportunity to sell an idea, promote a business, or close a sale is something that you should jump at – so what's the answer?

Very few of us are natural presenters. As Mark Twain used to say "It takes three weeks to prepare a good ad-lib speech". Fortunately, learning how to become a competent speaker takes a lot less time than that, so find yourself a good trainer, and follow some simple rules.

The first consideration is your audience. You will be judged a success if they leave feeling that their time spent listening to you was worthwhile. Find out as much as you can about them; how many will be there? what are their interests? what went down well before? Imagine yourself in their shoes – what would you like to hear?

Your subject matter may have been pre-determined, but you'll often be given a free hand. Give it a persuasive title – not "A survey of Anglo-German business readiness", but "Companies from Germany that want your business". Now consider the structure of your talk – it's as important as the content. It's a cliché, but the "business sandwich" (Tell them what's coming, tell them about it, tell them what you told them) really works – so stick to it.

When you've put your talk together (often in the dreaded PowerPoint, of which more later), simplify it by taking out half of the content. Then try to take out half of what's left. There – that's better – now you have a good chance of getting your core message across (you do have a core message, don't you?).

Now – rehearse, rehearse, rehearse. The idea is not to learn your script by heart, but to ensure that you don't look surprised when you turn over the next cue card. If you're at all nervous, don't write your notes on A4 sheets of paper – they amplify your trembling fingers both visually and aurally. Use low-tech file cards with a title and no more than four brief points. Punch a hole in the corner and tie them together with string – you might just drop them.

Now, if you must use PowerPoint (and I know many of you do), then use it to help, not confound, your audience. Never, ever, read your slides out – assume that all of your audience can read perfectly well. Keep your slides very simple. Put a blank slide between each section of your talk, so that you have the audience's full attention. And be prepared to carry on even if the PC or projector fails.

Visit the venue beforehand, and make friends with the technician. If there's a change of speakers, you'll need someone you can trust to ensure a smooth transition.

Finally, check everything, and then check it again. At the launch of a new people carrier a few years ago, the vehicle was driven on stage by the CEO with three board directors as passengers. Unfortunately, none of them knew how to open doors fitted with childproof locks. Cue tears of laughter from the assembled hacks. Couldn't happen to you though, could it?
This Article is authored / contributed by ▸ Alan S. who travels from LONDON, United Kingdom. Alan is available for Professional Coaching Work both Virtually and In-Person. ▸ Enquire Now.

Your Comments

Your thoughts matter to others - more than you can imagine.

More Articles published by Alan

3 Free | Ad-Free | Full-Text Business Papers
More Articles written / submitted by Alan S.

Ten Things Not To Say To A Reporter

Good publicity is a fantastic way of bringing in business. When a reporter calls, it's important to remember that this is not just a flattering episode ...
50   |   4.36 K   |   3 min
More Articles written / submitted by Alan S.

Don't Worry - I Can Handle The Media!

Words that send an icy shiver up the spine of any communications director are confident statements by senior managers that they can "handle the media". ...
50   |   4.04 K   |   4 min
More Articles written / submitted by Alan S.

Ah! I Didn't Expect That To Happen?

Crisis Management is one of those things that sounds like a good idea, but is easily put off - after all, things have been fine so far, haven't they? But ...
50   |   4.45 K   |   3 min

More 'Presentation Skills' Articles

5 more Articles that may interest you, too...
Bob H. : Powerpoint - It Just Doesn'T Work

Powerpoint - It Just Doesn'T Work

There's Ivy League evidence
2.74 K   |   50
Graham Y. : Presentation Paranoia - Prevention And Cure

Presentation Paranoia - Prevention And Cure

Have you had this feeling before? Rest assured you are not alone. You might be one of the many who would rate your fear of public speaking alongside or ahead of death! Your fear may translate itself to "FEAR" - Forget Everything And Run!
14.66 K   |   50
Allan M. : How Influential Are Your Business Presentations?

How Influential Are Your Business Presentations?

The best presenters I have seen concentrate fully on the audience, engaging them with both the content, their energy and their enthusiasm. Some of the best presenters I have encountered would have been "destroyed" by the video analysis in that their hands were doing this or their feet doing that!
2.96 K   |   50
Sid P. : Four Pitch Presentation Errors To Avoid

Four Pitch Presentation Errors To Avoid

The OJ trial was weird. Although I don't have any of the specifics, I do know that DNA can't jump and that if you're innocent you don't go driving away in a white Bronco with the entire police force on your tail. Or maybe you do. But that's beside the point. I was not a juror and OJ was found innocent. Marcia Clark, though, was guilty - of making four key errors in her pitch to the jury.
2.94 K   |   50
Albert E. : Slipping Up

Slipping Up

Trying to perfect a flawless presentation can result in disaster...
4.8 K   |   50
Back to top