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10 Tips to make you a better presenter

I hope you enjoyed reading the series, “Can you present?”   If not, you can read the first one here, second here, and the final entry here.

10 Tips on presenting:

  1. Always rehearse your pitch. Know how much time you have for your presentation, practice giving it within that timeframe. On the big day, bring a watch or a timepiece so you are aware of the time.
  2. Take plenty of time to prepare – know your content
  3. Wear comfortable clothes that are business appropriate. Remove your keys, change, wallet, and anything else that would be in your pockets. Believe me, this makes a huge difference in your comfort and will eliminate any annoying sounds of change rattling, or playing with anything in your pockets
  4. If you have nervous hands, use a prop to keep your hands from hiding in your pockets, and potentially playing with items you forgot to remove
  5. Firm stance, not lock kneed, but comfortable – and by all means – do not pace back and forth like you are Groucho Marx. Movement is okay but limited.
  6. Have water on hand. Use it to keep your throat moist, but also use it as a prop to give a certain amount of pause during your presentation. This can be powerful, and your audience will have the last thing you shared on their mind – so choose this strategically.
  7. Make eye contact – read your audience. If you are afraid of making direct eye contact, then don’t; look over the top of the audience, scanning normally back and forth to give the appearance of direct eye contact. Either way, you need to engage in this way to keep your audience interested.
  8. Check-in with your audience – as you are scanning the audience, reading your audience, ask a question to make sure they are engaged, such as, “does this make sense?”
  9. Have a whiteboard or a flip chart available for questions. As questions come up during your presentation, write them down on the whiteboard, or the flip chart.
    1. This shows you’re interested in the question being asked by your audience
    2. This allows you to come back to it later to provide a full answer after your presentation
    3. It also allows you the opportunity to summarize your presentation as part of a wrap-up. Making your presentation even more compelling and relevant because you have included audience participation.
  10. You don’t have to be the smartest person in the room, chances are you are not, but you have information the attendees want to hear. Otherwise, the attendees wouldn’t be sitting in the room. If you ever get stumped by a question, the best response is, “that’s a great question and I do not have an answer for you today, but I will get you the answer if you give me your business card.” Remember to breathe, take it slow, watch your time, and deliver with confidence.




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