10 Key tips when creating a powerful presentation

Speaker at Business Conference and Presentation. Audience at the conference hall. plus


1.       Purpose – As a presenter you should be clear what you are hoping to achieve, if you are unsure what the purpose of your presentation is how can it be expected the audience will.  Always have a purpose and state this in the introduction.  A purpose is a statement and therefore avoid putting this in bullet format.

2.      Know thy audience – Be sure to understand who the audience is before presenting, this allows you to understand more clearly what they would want to know from your presentation, and why they would want to attend. This allows you to focus on the key messages and the take home. Remember you audience will want to know ‘what is in it for me’ so make sure you know why they would want to attend and have answers to their questions.

3.      Practice – Practice, Practice, Practice – you cannot do enough. If you have a practice run it will ensure that you can stand up with confidence and feel comfortable.  You are likely to present a more polished presentation if you practice first.

4.      Avoid reading from the slide – one sure way to reduce your credibility is to read from the slides. It gives the impression you are not prepared and you don’t know the information. 

5.      Turning your back to the audience – avoid turning your back to the audience, it gives the audience permission to disconnect with you.  To maintain engagement with the audience, keep your eyes on them.

6.      Tone of Voice – The key message here is modulation.  Modulate your voice to create interest and engagement. This can be a very powerful tool! Make sure that you can be heard, a low voice will send attendees off to sleep, a very loud tone will distract and can be a source of irritation for the listener. It can also be perceived as threatening.

7.       Use different tools – A great presentation is memorable, engaging and emotional.  How to you do this? Use different tools, e.g. Video, Pictures, less words on your slide, animations and if required demonstrations and questioning.  This will ensure that your message is retained.  Research shows where information is given in verbal format only, retention is only 10%. Where other communication methods are used(as mentioned above) retention rates go up significantly to 65%. So, create impact in your presentation and make it memorable.

8.      Slides – Avoid putting too much information on your slides, as a presenter it is your job to present not read a whole lot of information from a slide. The rule here is to use a picture to represent your words. Good practice suggests not more than 5-7 words on a slide, with a font size not less than 30(you heard me correctly).

9.      Negative Talk – How often do you hear presenters use negative talk? Examples of negative talk include ‘ I hope I didn’t bore you’, ‘I’ll run through this quickly so I don’t bore you’, ‘Ok you can all go to sleep now as I am starting’ and ‘you don’t need to take notes because it’s not important’. What message does this send to your audience? It gives them permission to disengage, and in some cases leave. This is because you are telling them it not ’important’. The next time you hear yourself doing this(or someone else) put it in your ‘what not to do’ box

10.  Summarize – How many good presentations have you seen where the presenter has done a great job until you get to the end and it falls flat on its face?  This is because the presenter did not summarize.   When you have been talking for a while, it’s very important to bring your presentation to a solid end by reminding the audience what was discussed. This can simply be done by saying ‘let’s summarize the key points that have been discussed’ and then do that.  This will create a compelling closure for your presentation.


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