Laptop Magazne on Presentation Skills

Today is Thursday, so this post is on communication skills.

The March 2007 issue of Laptop Magazine has an interesting article on presentation skills called Keep It Short!  Here are 10 Tips for Cutting to the Chase in your next presentation.

  1. Focus on a key idea.  Focus on one main idea.  Have everything in your presentation reinforce that idea.
  2. Offer three supporting points only.  What is your main point?  What three points reinforce it best?  For example, communication skills is one of the main points in my career and life success model.  It has three supporting points: conversation skills, writing skills, presentation skills.
  3. Organize your talk around these three points.  A five minute talk should consist of a one minute introduction, one minute on each reinforcing point, and a one minute summary.  An hour talk, should consist of a 10 minute introduction, 12 – 13 minutes on each reinforcing point, and a 10 minute wrap up, close and Q and A.  If you notice, I organize this blog that way.  Monday’s posts are on self confidence; Tuesday, personal impact; Wednesday, outstanding performance; Thursday, communication skills; Friday, interpersonal competence.
  4. Be selective with your slides.  Don’t read the information on your slides.  Use bullet points to focus the audience on what you are saying.  It’s a good idea to identify dispensable slides that you don’t have to use in your talk.
  5. Save the details for your handouts.  Use your presentation as a teaser to get people to seek further information — from you after your talk, via phone or email later on, or through your handouts which can be as detailed as you like.
  6. Practice your talk.  Time yourself.  Get yourself accustomed to your time limit.  At your talk, ask one of your friends to sit in the first row and flash signs telling you how much time you have left.
  7. Obey the limit.  Make your talk fit the time allotted.  Don’t go over.  If anything, be a few minutes under your allotted time.
  8. Watch your speed of delivery.  Avoid giving an hour presentation in 45 minutes.  Talking faster just doesn’t work. 
  9. Don’t apologize.  If your talk is brief, so be it.  Don’t apologize for brevity.  Most people appreciate it.
  10. Don’t try to fool the audience.  When you are in the middle of your talk, don’t tell the audience that you are about finished.  People will tune out what you say, because they’ll be listening for cues that you are wrapping up.

These are some good, common sense ideas to keep in mind the next time you are asked to make a presentation – whether ten minutes or two hours.  Use them and your presentation skills will improve.  And, as you know, presentation skills are one of the hallmarks of a good communicator.

That’s it for today.  Thanks for reading.  Log on to my website for more common sense.  Check out my other blog: for common sense advice on leading people and running a small business.

I’ll see you around the web, and at Alex’s Lemonade Stand.


PS: Speaking of Alex’s Lemonade Stand – my fundraising page is still open.  Please go to to read Alex’s inspiring story and to donate if you can.

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