We all have times where we want to convince an individual or organization that our idea, product or service is the best. To deliver your best you need the right tools, time and information. The following tips will increase your self confidence and credibility, allowing you to offer an excellent presentation that the audience deserves.

1. Start early.

Start developing your talk as soon as you know you will be needing it. The more time you have to prepare, the more confident you will be. Customize your presentation as much as possible to the listener or audience.  No one likes a canned message or to hear about a problem without offering a solution. Will it be industry-specific or to a general audience.

2. Research your audience.

Find out everything you can about WHO you will be speaking to. What do your audience members have in common? What are the challenges they face? What is their education level? The more answers you have to questions like these, the more you will be able create a presentation that they will want to hear.

3. Don’t worry about being original.

When you speak passionately, from your heart, and believe what you say, it doesn’t matter if you’re the first person or 15th to speak about your particular subject. The originality you provide is with your voice and your passion.

4. Keep it simple.

Smaller, shorter chunks of information are easier for audiences to absorb. Keep them as short and to the point as possible. Example: 1) your customer service expertise, 2) quick turnaround time, 3) most competitive cost/value, 4) service after the sale.

 5. Make them an offer.

Offer your audience a solution to a problem, a challenge to how they think or act, or an opportunity to learn something new. Create your presentation around that offer (“Today I’m going to give you 3 tools to eliminate procrastination from your life forever…”).

6. Create a conversation.

Instead of creating a “Presentation,” develop your talk as a conversation between you and the audience.

 7. Involve the audience.

To create that sense of conversation, interact with your audience. Ask them questions (“How many of you would agree with that?”). Give them things to do (“I want you to write down this next fact/question/concern …”).

8. Listen to yourself.

How your presentation sounds is much more important than how it reads. Create your Presentation for the ear, not the eye. Be animated, expressive. Remember, voice and body can exhibit frustration, excitement, relief, or a myriad of other “messages.”

9. Rehearse. Revise. Repeat.

Practice your presentation and revise it continuously.

10. Have fun!

Keep the process of creating your presentation simple and light. If you make the process fun, your presentation will reflect that and you will deliver an idea or message that people will give serious thought to and hopefully, jump on the bandwagon with you!

You are entitled to:

  • Adequate lead-time to prepare for your talk
  • Clearly defined expectations – What is it they want  from your talk and why were you asked to speak?
  • The parameters of your talk – e.g. time allotted, size  of audience
  • A clear description of audience member’s backgrounds and needs related to the topic
  • A place to speak that is quiet without distractions


5 comments on “Ten Steps to Engaging Presentations

  1. michellesoodek

    Thank you for these insightful tools. I am preparing a presentation at this very moment. It’s scheduled for March and I’ve been working on it for a month now. Your 10 tips have revalidated my efforts and have inspired me to be more creative.
    Michelle D. Soodek, LCSW

  2. Anonymous

    I have been away from speaking to groups for quiet a few years.I find myself needing to present information to a media committee group representing our community Senior Activity Center. I have carefully read over your material twice. I will start my presentation tomorrow. Your tips are most valuable to me because I will use them as a guide to help me make a new start. It is important to get my ideas across. Thank you .

    1. Rita Post author

      Thank you for your feedback. I will be posting additional tips for presenters to gain more confidence and polish. It is definitely a journey. Best wishes.

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