Top Presentation Tips & Skills

November 20, 2016 - SOPHIE THOMPSON

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 Presentation Tips

Visualisation

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.

Repetition

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

Summary of Presentations Tips Tips on how to deliver a speech people will remember.

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.

Rhetoric

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.

Anecdote

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.

Emphasis

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 presentation tips. Try a few of them out on your next presentation so you begin to understand what is and isn’t working for you.

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

10 Techniques Steve Jobs used to Inform, Educate and Entertain

  1. Planning in Analog. Tell a story, create stunning visuals and videos to complement video, use demonstrations and other speakers, keep the audience engaged.
  2. Creating a Twitter-Friendly Description Single description sentence, condensed his message into 140 characters.
  3. 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.
  4. Focusing on Benefits Keep reinforcing the benefits of your product, create top 10 lists, understand this is what customers care about.
  5. Sticking to Rule of Three Classic Literary technique, things are best remembered and reinforced in threes. Read this article on Literary Techniques for more detail.
  6. Sell Dreams, Not Products Create a vision people believe in, create a vision which will make people’s lives better
  7. Create Visual Slides Use as few words as possible and use colourful graphics on the slide to highlight points.
  8. Make Numbers Meaningful Compare large numbers to things people understand.
  9. Use Plain English Use easy to say and easy to remember words, keep it simple.
  10. Large Reveals Due to Apple secrecy, Jobs was able to deliver unexpected products to the world at his product launches.

Read these presentation tips in more detail on the Tim Baynes pdf.

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

Presentation Design for Content on Slides

Use the FLORAL principles of presentation design.

First - The first three minutes are the most important for your presentation

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

Outstanding - 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

Review - 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.

Last - 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.

Bad slide design. Way too much text, no one will read this and it’s distracting. An example of bad presentation design. Way too much text, no one will read this and it’s distracting. Good slide design, small amount of text to support what the speaker is saying. Much better, small amount of text to support what the speaker is saying. Easily readable, large font and clear message.

Read these ten presentation design tips to enhance 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

How to Deal with Questions from the Audience

Diagram Explained: Once you receive a question, you’ll have a few moments to think about it and reframe it in a way that makes sense to you. This will give you five choices on how to react - you can answer, reflect, deflect, defer or change the scope of the question, each of which is detailed below. You can then follow up to check if the person asking the question is satisfied and then continue with the agenda.


How to Deal with Questions from the Audience

These are very useful presentation tips for one of the most stressful parts of the event, answering audience questions.

Answer

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

Reflect

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.

Deflect

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.

Defer

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.

Scope

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.