Five Tips for Great Presentations

Indra Gardiner Bowers // May 21 // Insights



Some people really give great presentations. You know it when you see and hear it. What is it about their presentations that is different and compelling? Here are five things I believe result in an outstanding presentation.

1. Don't rely on slides. Unless your slide visually (not with words) supports the point you're trying to make, they are a crutch for you and a distraction for your audience. Think about whether or not you could make the case without any slides at all. What would that feel like? More eye contact with your audience? Would it feel more like a conversation than being "presented to?" If you do use slides, use them sparingly. And keep them visual. According to our presentation coach Nancy Stern, there is nothing worse than a presentation that is what she calls a continual slide swipe. One after another after another....glazed eyes are guaranteed.

2. Figure out what your three key points are and make them well. Tim Ferriss posted a great outline of how he prepares for public speaking on his Four Hour Work Week Blog. He keeps it to three points and he uses the PEP approach - Point, Example, Point. Love that.

3. Tell stories. We want to hear stories, not bullet pointed facts. The most persuasive people in history have all been great story tellers. It's powerful stuff and will keep your audience engaged.

4. Rehearse. There is very little that we observe as well done that has not been rehearsed. From political speeches to stand up comedy to really good business presentations. Rehearsal makes us better. Saying it out loud gets us comfortable with the material and shows us what's weak and needs work.

5. Avoid up talk, you know, like and um. We all have our verbal tics. Some are more annoying than others. Most take away our authority. As an agency based in SoCal we are surrounded by people using up talk and it seems to be getting worse every year. If you don't know what I mean, watch this video by Ronnie Bruce. And then speak with conviction!

Typography from Ronnie Bruce on Vimeo.


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