How to Give a Great Presentation

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“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

27 Comments
    1. Hi Rupali,

      It’s great to see you here and I’m really glad you liked the tips in the post!

      Have a great weekend! 🙂

  1. Hello Hiten,
    This is a very nice post indeed. Between you and me, i am suck at giving presentation and your tips are a great way to go. thanks

    1. Hi Babanature,

      I’m so glad you liked the post! Learning to give presentations is just like learning any other skill. It takes practice, persistence and experimentation. I hope you will try to give a presentation if you get the opportunity to do so.

      Attending a public speaking group is a great way to develop presentation skills.

      Thanks very much for commenting. It’s great to connect with you

  2. Hey Hiten,
    I am recording some more videos for my website this Monday…that’s about as close as I come to ‘presenting’ at the moment…other than one on one’s. Thankyou for this fine information.
    Be good to yourself
    David

    1. Hi David,

      I’m so glad you liked the information in the post! I look forward to seeing your videos on your website, once they’re up!

      Thanks a lot for commenting and for showing your support.

  3. Hi Hiten,

    These are fabulous tips and all that I’d probably need to remember should I ever give a presentation. Yeah that’s right, I’ve never given one.

    Okay I’m going to tell on myself but I’m afraid to speak in public. I know, me! Now one day I will conquer this I’m sure but for now, no one has ever asked me so I’ve gotten away with it for this long. I know it’s an area I’ll need to pursue at one point but for now, I’ll leave that up to the pros.

    ~Adrienne

    1. Hi Adrienne,

      I’m think you would be a fantastic presenter! With your knowledge and background, I think you would have so much to offer to audiences, sharing what you know and your views verbally!

      Indeed, the fear of public speaking is a common one, which many people have. However, like most fears, once we get up and start to present it is never as bad as we initially thought. Practicing again and again really does help and each time you get up and present it gets a little easier.

      I hope you do give it a go if you get the opportunity to do so. As I said earlier, I think you would be a very passionate and engaging presenter!

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this area and for leaving your great comment, Adrienne!

  4. Wonderful tips Hiten!

    Stage fright is something most of us suffer from, and so giving a presentation is something that’s becoming all the more common at our end in most of the colleges and institutions, which takes care of stage fright too. I guess the generation ahead would be able to handle presentations in a much better way as compared to us. 🙂

    Speaking of which, it took me a long time to be confident of myself when I had to give a presentation, though at our time giving presentations was only on functions or occasions. I would like to also add another point about being confident about what you are going to say, especially if you forget something in-between! If you know your matter well and are confident of your topic, you should be able to speak confidently even if you falter a little – isn’t it? The confidence shows through your voice more than anything else when you are giving a presentation. Also, the physical appearance or the way you dress adds to it all. 🙂

    Thanks for sharing these wonderful tips with all of us. 🙂

    1. Hi Harleena,

      Absolutely, I agree with you’re saying. I think in general these days so much more emphasis is placed in the workplace on verbal communication skills and being able to present forms a part of this. This emphasis is probably far more than it was years ago.

      Thanks for adding your great tips to the post. Indeed, as you say, confidence in your topic really does help. By knowing our topic, it allows us to be spontaneous and enables us to carry on, if we do stumble during our presentation, which all of us do at times.

      I really appreciate your tip about appropriate dress when presenting. It really can help us make a good impression on our audience. I know when I’m dressed smartly in a suit and tie when I present, I feel more confident too.

      Thanks for leaving such a great comment, Harleena and for adding so much more to this post.

  5. hi Hiten – a couple thoughts here. Without any question, rehearsing your speech or presentation is the most effective thing you can do to give a great presentation. I used to practice my closing arguments to juries after a trial 3-6 times before actually presenting the closing argument to the jury. The more Ipracitced, the more natural the presentation came across.

    Also, in relation to your material and the structure of the presentation, I couldn’t agree with you more. You have to know what you’re talking about and give it in order but I’d just add that you should keep your audience in mind and engage them. All of us hate boring, very formal presentations. The more we make presentations engaging, easy to understand and filled with stories which teach, the quicker it is to grasp a concept and the more the audience will enjoy the speech.

    Thank you for an excellent post.

    1. Hi Vishnu,

      It’s great to see you here, my friend and thanks for sharing your insights and experiences in this area.

      As you said, after practicing your closing arguments a number of times, the more natural the presentation came across. This is a perfect example of the importance of rehearsal.

      I loved you tip about keeping in mind the audience and ensuring our presentations are interesting to them. I couldn’t agree with you more. I know exactly what you mean about boring formal presentations.

      The advice you share about filling our presentations with stories is brilliant! Indeed, we learn so much better through stories and the audience also enjoys listening to material presented as stories as opposed to vague sentences and facts.

      Thank you so much for leaving such a great comment and adding so much more to this post, Vishnu! 🙂

  6. very good tips
    number 3 helped me the most
    the more i studied the presentation well the better i performed

    1. Hi Farouk,

      I’m really glad you liked the tips and could resonate with number 3, in particular!

      Thank you very much for leaving your comment! 🙂

  7. Hi Hiten,

    This post is just what I needed! I want to do more presentations to live audiences as well as through video, so these tips will be very useful. I will keep them for future reference. I also like the quote from Dale Carnegie, and love all your suggestions. Thanks so much!

    1. Hi Cathy,

      I’m so happy this post reached you at the right time! I find such posts to always be of greatest help when I’m visiting other blogs! It’s like the post was written just for us!

      I wish you the greatest success with giving your live presentations! Perhaps, if you decide to record any of your live speeches, then we’ll be able to watch you present on YouTube.

      Thanks a lot for leaving your comment, Cathy. I much appreciate it.

  8. Hello Hiten great post, I never had to give a presentation I guess you can say I’m the shy type 🙂 although I think if I really had to I would very well because I am a good talking when I have to.

    Thanks so much for the share my friend.

    1. Hi Rob,

      Great to see you here, my friend! I think you would be great at giving a presentation as well! You have so much experience and knowledge about running and maintaining a successful online business and blog.

      I can just imagine your passion for this area really coming out if you presented in front of audiences!

      Thanks for dropping and by and leaving your comment, Rob. 🙂

  9. HI Hiten

    Great post!

    I could remember my first presentation in my first job and it came out to be a farce, reason being that I got lost the way in between as there were too many queries which really took away the excitement and joy of speaking.

    My husband also had the similar experiences, only difference being, he kept on learning and PRACTICING and came out with flying colors. I didn’t get a chance after that.

    I strongly believe that engaging with the audience is the key but not in the mid of the presentation, Q&A session can be at the end or at some logical end of the presentation, I made a mistake on that.

    Thanks Hiten for sharing this.

    Sapna

    1. Hi Sapna,

      I’m really glad you liked the post!

      The experiences you shared with giving presentations were great! I know exactly what you mean, about giving a presentation where the audience bombard you with questions throughout! It can take the edge off, particularly if one has come very prepared with a well-rehearsed presentation.

      As your husband found, we definitely become better at giving presentations through practice and learning from what worked well and what didn’t, in our previous presentations.

      Thank you very much for leaving such a great comment, Sapna. It’s great to see you here.

  10. Excellent post again!! This post can be of immense help to those who give presentations on a regular basis or would like to work on some of the aspects.

    Point 1 is definitely the most important part. One cannot be confident while delivering a presentation if he/she has superficial knowledge of the subject.

    Visuals keep the audience engaged and it also helps the presenter follow the structure.

    Walking around a little, while giving a presentation, can actually work wonders for someone’s confidence.

    A brilliant post!! Read it a few times! Loved your 100 word post as well!!

    1. Hi Debajyoti,

      I’m really glad you liked the post, my friend! 🙂

      Absolutely, I can definitely resonate with your point about one not being able to be confident during a presentation, with limited knowledge on a topic. It’s a bit like being in a meeting at work and having to provide input on an area, which we’re not familiar with. We just don’t feel confident with what’s going on.

      I know what you mean about the visuals. So much information can be conveyed through pictures (which you know all about! :-)), than through words. A presentation slide which is packed with words is difficult to read and also can make the audience get bored.

      When a presenter is really in his/her stride and begins to walk around, it is a great sign of confidence and a real joy to watch.

      Thanks for sharing your insights in this area and adding so much more to this post. You support is greatly appreciated. I’m glad you liked the 100 words post, too!

  11. Great points Hiten! I’ve learned the importance of over preparing and practicing before giving a presentation. When I do those two things it build confidence and prepares me to give a great presentation.

    I just found your blog and look forward to reading it more and connecting with you:)

    1. Hi Dan,

      It’s great to connect with you and thank you for commenting!

      Thanks so much for sharing your approach when you present. As you pointed out, over preparing and practicing are key to being confident on the day when we do give our presentation.

  12. fantastic put up, very informative. I wonder why the
    opposite specialists of this sector don’t understand this.
    You should continue your writing. I am confident, you’ve a huge readers’ base already!

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