“Tell the audience what you’re going to say, say it; then tell them what you’ve said.”
~ Dale Carnegie

Most of us have to give a presentation at some point.

Presentations come in various different styles. You might have to give a presentation at college or university, in order to pass a particular module.

Perhaps you have to give presentations at work to give feedback on your progress. Maybe you have to give presentations to potential clients to make sales.

You might need to pitch your business idea to investors to attract investment.

Usually the content of what you will talk about will be dependent on what you are presenting and who you are presenting to.

However, there are a number of key principles that one needs to get right in any type of presentation. Below are some pointers to help you deliver a great presentation.

1. Know your material

Whatever material you are presenting, ensure you know what it is you’re talking about. By knowing the content you will be able to speak about it with confidence.

You can make a note of the key bullet points you want to talk about on a piece of paper and then write a few sentences under each bullet point, which will form the basis for your presentation.

2. Have a structure to your presentation

When you’re preparing your material remember to have a beginning, middle and an end. If you are giving a presentation using PowerPoint for instance, then as a beginning you could introduce to your audience what you will be presenting in your talk.

The middle would then be talking about the specific points you said you would in your introduction and you could finish off with summarising what you talked about.

3. Rehearse well

Once you’ve got your presentation down in note form, rehearse what you’re going to say 3-4 times or more if possible. Rehearsing will help increase your confidence in being able to deliver your material and will help you to remember the key points you want to get across during the actual presentation.

4. Use visuals where you can

These days the use of PowerPoint is usually the standard way to give presentations in the corporate world and also in other sectors such as the public services.

While you’re speaking you want to try and keep your audience engaged as much as possible. You can help to do this by using images and photos in your presentation slides.

This makes the whole experience of listening and watching your presentation more enjoyable for your audience.

5. Use your eyes properly

When you’re presenting, a great thing to aim for is to create as much rapport as you can with your audience, so that you maximise your chances of getting the message you want to get across, to as many people as possible.

You can do this by glancing at members of your audience when you’re speaking, so that everyone feels included in your presentation.

6. Use hand gestures

When you’re giving your presentation, where possible use your hands to support the arguments you are conveying.

However, there’s a fine balance to be achieved when using gestures. You want to use gestures only if they really do help emphasis what you’re saying. Otherwise, hand gestures can be distracting to the audience.

When you’re not using your hands, you can keep them comfortably at your side, or softly clasped together in front of you.

A good way to get hand gestures right is when you’re rehearsing as in point 3 above. This way you can see for yourself what your gestures look like, keep those which do help your presentation and discard those, which don’t.

7. Standing upright

If you are presenting while standing up, then it’s a good idea to keep yourself upright, with your back straight and stand in one position. This will help you to feel more grounded and balanced.

Some really confident presenters when they get into their presentations walk around a little as well to engage with their audience. If you’re confident enough to do this and have the space to do so, then this can also work out well.

8. Using your voice

A powerful tool you have at your disposal is your voice. By using your voice effectively you will become even more engaging to your audience who will enjoy listening to you.

You can do this by using proper diction when speaking out the words in your presentation, speaking slowly and then speeding up and then slowing down again.

You can use your voice effectively by injecting passion into your words. One thing I’ve found when I’m passionate about what I’m presenting is this passion rubs off onto members of the audience.

My friends it’s over to you:

  • What other tips can you share with us all, with regards to giving an effective presentation?
  • Have you given a presentation recently? How did it turn out?
  • Please share your valuable thoughts and experiences in the comments box below.
  • Please also share this post on your favourite social networks.


Photo Credit: ImagineCup