Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Presentation Tips For Beginners

Writen by Greg Ward

An effective, compelling presentation has three clear parts: the introduction, the body and the conclusion.

Try to involve your audience. Inject variety through the use of a whiteboard or PowerPoint bullet points. Invite comment or feedback whenever possible. Questions or comment from the audience provide valuable breaks as well as a chance to regather your thoughts.

Remember - you are there to communicate with your audience, not to talk at them. So use language they find compelling. Paint pictures of events and ideas they can see in their mind. And keep them thinking with occasional questions. Keep them well informed about the structure and length of your presentation. If in doubt - cut it out.


Keep PowerPoint text to an absolute minimum.

Brief bullet points are fine. But sentences and paragraphs should be avoided. Never read a presentation directly from PowerPoint

PowerPoint is best when used as a prompt. Too much information will send your audience to sleep. Keep them alert through the inclusion of photos, sound files or interesting background graphics.

Top Tips:

1. Encourage questions
2. Introduce props, MPEG clips or product samples
3. Be conversational - don't rely entirely on notes
4. Smile - it projects confidence
5. Use repetition to ensure key facts sink in
6. Pause for effect on key points

Tips for presenting to a hostile audience:

1. Anticipate the tough questions.
2. Explain early you may not have all the answers.
3. Listen carefully to the question and look directly at the person asking.
4. If you need time to think, repeat the question aloud.
5. Whenever possible, provide an answer linked back to your speech.
6. If you cannot link back, acknowledge their concern and promise to investigate.
7. When appropriate, suggest another person or avenue that might be helpful.
8. Remain calm and helpful. Never show temper or exasperation.
9. Avoid bad body language: crossing arms, shaking head.
10. Keep things moving - respond to another member of the audience.

Greg Ward is a New Zealand media coach and trainer. For more details and online info, check

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