Wednesday, February 18, 2009

3 Tips For Giving More Powerful Presentations

Writen by Larry M. Lynch


"Put it before them briefly so they will read it, clearly so they will appreciate it, picturesquely so they will remember it" said Joseph Pulitzer. This neatly sums up writing and giving a presentation. Let's look at three ways you can use to help you give more powerful presentations.

1. Use the "Rule of Three"

Your presentation should be divided into these three distinctive parts:

• The opening

Here you establish rapport with your audience and introduce your topic. The opening should be more than 5% to 10% of your presentation length. The opening should also give three main points coming up in your presentation.

• The main body

Your topic information is provided here. Your three main points are discussed using no more than three minor points for each main point. This should take up no more than 70% of your presentation time. For a one hour presentation, for example, it would run about 40 minutes.

• The conclusion

A strong, unifying conclusion or summary is very important. This is where you briefly reiterate your main points and their respective values. Your conclusion is the part of your presentation that most attendees will remember best. Make it count. You'll need about 10% of your presentation time to effect a good conclusion to your presentation.

2. Keep Your Presentation Short

It was none other than Winston Churchill himself who got up to speak, walked to the podium, and said, "Never, never, never, never give up." He turned around, walked back to his seat and sat down. The thunderous applause that followed went on far longer than his speech had. It is remembered to this day.

Time your presentation to take a little LESS time than you've been allowed. Hardly anyone has ever complained about a presentation that was shorter than expected. On the other hand, if it runs longer than expected …

3. Use Appropriate Anecdotes and Humor

There really a number of ways you can successfully incorporate appropriate quotes, anecdotes and humor into your public speaking. A little laughter never hurt anyone, and once you get a rapport with your audience, your presentation is bound to be a successful one. Try some of these possibilities:

• A comic strip panel (especially one which imparts its humor without using words)

• A Cartoon or humorous video clip (a short digital video clip of a few seconds can easily be inserted into a Power Point or other audio-visual presentation program slide)

• A couple of well-placed jokes (if you don't have a good source for jokes, there are lots of sources online)

• Use humorous graphics or funny photos to help illustrate a theme or point

• Humorous anecdotes are always popular and can be found online and in printed publications alike. Be a good sport though, and be sure to include your source.

• Humorous quote sources and humor websites abound on the internet and finding two or three appropriate ones to use will be time well spent.

Use these four key tips to help ensure a more powerful, successful presentation. You'll find that your presentations will flow more smoothly, be more concise and informative and involve your audience more. With practice then, you too will have more attendees approaching after your presentation to shake your hand and say, "Thanks, I really enjoyed your presentation." As for the others, the thunderous applause of the audience will wake them up.

Prof. Larry M. Lynch is a bi-lingual copywriter, expert author and photographer specializing in business, travel, food and education-related writing in South America. His work has appeared in Transitions Abroad, South American Explorer, Escape From America, Mexico News and Brazil magazines. Free details of his 5-week online course "Develop a Specialty and Get Published on the Web for Fun, Fame or Fortune" and more tips on article writing, public speaking, and mental skills development are online at:

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