Presentation Tips for Success

Competence is one of the four keys to career and life success in my Common Sense Success System.  I also discuss it in some detail in several of my books: Straight Talk for Success; Your Success GPS; and 42 Rules to Jumpstart Your Professional Success.  If you want to succeed you need to develop four basic, but important competencies: 1) creating positive personal impact; 2) becoming a consistently high performer; 3) dynamic communication skills; and 4) becoming interpersonally competent. 

There are four key competencies that will help you become a career and life success:

  • You have to be able to create positive personal impact.
  • You have to be become an outstanding performer.
  • You have to be a dynamic communicator – in conversation, writing and presentations.
  • You have to build strong, lasting, mutually beneficial relationships with the important people in your life.

If you want to become a dynamic communicator, you need to become an excellent presenter.  Presentations are an important communication tool.  Many careers have been made on the strength of one or two good presentations.

A lot of people suffer from presentation anxiety.  Public speaking can be frightening, although it doesn’t have to be.  Presenting is like any other process, there are a series of logical steps to follow.  Here are five steps to making effective presentations.  These steps have served me well for over 35 years. 

  1. Determine your message. 
  2. Analyze your audience. 
  3. Organize your information for impact.
  4. Design supporting visuals.
  5. Practice, practice, practice.

Ask yourself these questions to help you determine your message:

  • What do you want or need to communicate?
  • What information does the audience need?
  • Why do they need it?
  • At the end of the presentation, what should the audience: Understand? Remember? Do?

Determine the best way to communicate your message by analyzing your audience.  Ask yourself these questions:

  • Who is the audience for this presentation?
  • Why are they attending?
  • What is their general attitude toward you and the topic?
  • What is their knowledge level on this topic?

Use the golden rule of journalism: “Tell them what you’re going to tell them, Tell them, Tell them what you told them” to organize your information.

  • Begin at the end.  Prepare your presentation ending first.  This is helpful, because it keeps you focused on where you’re going.
  • Prepare your presentation beginning.  A good beginning has two things: a hook, and an outline of your talk.
  • Fill in the blanks with your content.

Design visuals to support and enhance what you are saying.  Good visuals support the points you are making, create audience interest, improve audience understanding, save you time – a picture is worth a thousand words, and are memory aids

Practice, Practice, Practice.  There is an old saying, “practice makes up for a lack of talent”.  Prior to getting in front of an audience say your presentation out loud – several times.  Listen to yourself.    Consider videotaping yourself.  If you don’t have the equipment, practice in front of a mirror, or you spouse, or your dog or cat – just practice.

The common sense point here is simple.  Successful people are competent.  Dynamic communication is an important success competency.  Dynamic communicators present with impact.  Many people are frightened by the idea of standing in front of a group of people and doing a talk.  Unfortunately, presentations can make or break your success.  You can conquer your fear of public speaking by following my five steps for making high impact presentations:  1) Determine your message.  2) Analyze your audience.  3) Organize your information for impact. 4) Design supporting visuals. 5) Practice, practice, practice.  If you follow these five steps – especially number 5; practice – you’ll become a confident successful presenter.

That’s my take on the importance of developing your presentations skills.  What’s yours?  Please take few minutes to leave a comment sharing your thoughts with us.  As always, thanks for reading.


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