Presentation Skills & Tips

Essential tips to enhance your presentation and build a powerful story. Delivering your key message at the right time, to the right people, is the best way to persuade and influence the people that matter.

Summary of Techniques


Create an imaginary world or put the audience in your shoes. Engage emotionally with an audience. For example “Imagine we are at this same conference in three years time. I’m confident our company will be a Footsie 100 high performer. We’ll be in a hall twice this size. 85% of you will be shareholders …”. Painting a picture of the success you predict and drawing your audience in to your vision.


A very effective technique when used selectively. “I have a dream” continually reinforcing a key message, illustrating commitment and highly memorable.

Eye contact

You must make eye contact with your audience or you will lose them. In smaller groups this can be individual (no more than 3 seconds). In large groups divide the room into left centre right and share your delivery. If certain parts of the presentation are more relevant to specific groups or individuals then you should address this to them.


Posing questions to the audience that are not to be answered engages them intellectually. “Is this the sort of company you want?” “Will that help our sales in Q1?”

Audience participation

Asking for a show of hands or even a vocal response to a question. Again engages the audience and fosters two-way communication.


Can be very effective if strongly relevant to the message of your presentation. It makes your presentation more personal and encourages the audience to identify with you engaging them emotionally.


Audiences will remember messages you emphasise or put more power and pitch into. A variety of emphasis is easier to listen to and more engaging. “Now is the time to act! You must lead it!” – gives a strong communication of urgency (Now) and personal responsibility (You).

It takes time, practice, and experience to build comfort with these techniques. Try a few of them out on your next presentation so you begin to understand what is and isn’t working for you. Several of these techniques are explained in more detail in the following chapters.

10 Techniques Steve Jobs used to Inform, Educate and Entertain

Planning in Analog

Tell a story, create stunning visuals and videos to complement video, use demonstrations and other speakers, keep the audience engaged

Creating a Twitter-Friendly Description

Single description sentence, condensed his message into 140 characters

Introduce the Enemy

Story needs villains or a problem to be solved. Jobs highlighted IBM and useless mobile phones (during iPhone release) as his villains

Focusing on Benefits

Keep reinforcing the benefits of your product, create top 10 lists, understand this is what customers care about

Sticking to Rule of Three

Classic Literary technique, things are best remembered and reinforced in threes. Read the chapter on Literary Techniques for more detail.

Sell Dreams, Not Products

Create a vision people believe in, create a vision which will make people’s lives better

Create Visual Slides

Use as few words as possible and use colourful graphics on the slide to highlight points

Make Numbers Meaningful

Compare large numbers to things people understand

Use Plain English

Use easy to say and easy to remember words, keep it simple

Large Reveals

Due to Apple secrecy, Jobs was able to deliver unexpected products to the world at his product launches

Read these points in more detail on the Tim Baynes pdf.

Propel your presentation to the next level with the 10 techniques Steve Jobs used to engage and wow his audience.

keep your presentation slides simple and concise
presentation slide with too much information on it

BAD DESIGN!! Way too much text, no one will read this and it’s distracting.

well designed presentation slide with not much text on it

Much better, small amount of text to support what the speaker is saying. Easily readable, large font and clear message.

Read these ten slide tips to enhance your presentations.

How to Design the Layout and Content of Slides

Use the FLORAL principles of presentation design.


The first three minutes are the most important for your presentation


Create links between your topic and things such as: current news events, previous presentations, recent technology research, agreed strategies by your business.


Highlight your key points and make them stand out:

  • Repetition and Power of Three
  • Use a larger font
  • Pause just before, or after your key message
  • Use humour, examples and anecdotes


Repeat and review your key points as often as you feel you need to persuade the audience

Ask Questions

Use rhetoric questions to hold the audience attention. Put the focus on the listener and keep them engaged and thinking about your presentation.


Rehearse your ending many times as your audience will usually remember this part of your speck. Repeat your key messages in the last couple of sentences.

Prepare answers to questions you think will arise from your speech

Handling Questions

You don’t have to answer a question immediately. Pause for a few seconds and think about the best way to answer. There are five possible choices depending on how well you understand and can answer the question. It’s okay to say that you don’t know the answer to something. This can add to your credibility instead of trying to waffle through an answer you don’t really know.

Two good resources for handling questions

8 ways to deflect tough interview questions
Dodging the Question

How to handle questions from the audience after a speech or presentation

How to Deal with Questions from the Audience


If you have a good answer for the question from the audience, go ahead and answer it in a short and clear message.


Ask a question back the audience member, such as “Can you clarify what you mean by that”. You can also attack the question if it is not related to the issue, factually inaccurate, personal or based on false assumptions. Be careful with this method.


Ask the question back to the audience or pass it to another panel member if possible. If suitable, another technique is to imply the question has been asked already, with you stating you don’t want to cover old ground.


Tell the audience member you will talk to them after the event. This gives you more time to think of a good answer and there is less pressure to give a perfect answer.


This involves answering the question but changing the subject. You can also give a partial answer or give a negative answer, saying that something else will happen instead.