Bring Them to Their Feet: How to Give a Presentation They’ll Never Forget

“That wraps things up. Thank you all for listening.’ Cue rapturous applause and a standing ovation. You wish. 

Standing in front of a crowd of strangers and delivering a presentation can put the fear of God into the best of us. It’s the subject of many a bad dream.

With a bit of careful thought and a lot of preparation, you can have your audience eating out your hand. It’s a performance. The world’s best entertainers will tell you they’ve honed theirs to the last detail no matter how spontaneous it looks.

We’re here to show you how to give a presentation people will enjoy and remember for all the right reasons.

You’re Telling a Story

Take your audience on a journey. Introduce the topic you’re going to talk about with a brief introduction. Explain why you care so passionately about it. Convince your listeners that they should too.

Bring your speech to life with real examples. That means you will have to go into detail but make that detail unique and meaningful. It’s a mistake to talk too broadly. 

Build up the Narrative

Some of the best talks follow the structure of a detective story. A problem is presented, and the search for a solution is outlined. A narrative is satisfying for an audience.

Use a simple structure the tools to build a story. That means having an introduction, action, a turning point, and a solution. Build up the points you’re making so that they all add up to one key point. You can then end by explaining what lessons can be learned.

If you’re new to making presentations, then it’s worth considering employing an expert to help you. Learn more here about ways you can do this.

Engage With Your Audience

Use your audience as part of your presentation. This will keep them listening and interested. Ask real and direct questions with enough of your audience so you get a variety of different answers.

You may be using figures to demonstrate how many of the population react in a certain way. Ask the audience for a show of hands to make a similar point.

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Research and understand your audience in advance. Use humor in your presentation, but make sure it’s appropriate. Remember, you don’t need to be a stand-up comedian to get an audience laughing.

Practice Makes Perfect

Practice your presentation in advance. It doesn’t matter if this is to your pet or a friend. This means saying it out loud, and several times until you feel you have it right.

This will help you to rewrite any phrases you find difficult to say. Try not to read your presentation from a piece of paper. By all means, glance to check you have things in the right order though.

Unless you’re an experienced TV Presenter, it’s probably best to avoid a teleprompter. People can tell when you’re just reading from a script. Intimate connection is lost and so things feel more formal and less interesting.

Use Slides Carefully

Slides and bullet points can be great but they can also be overused and unnecessary. Ask yourself if it’s possible to change your tone or position to tell your story and move from point to point.

As a general rule, try to use no more than ten slides. A slideshow should never last more than twenty minutes. Use a large font size as this will stop you from trying to cram too much information onto a slide.

Slides are there to emphasize a point. Remember that you should always be the key focus of your audience. Slides need to contain short bursts of information that’s expressed simply. 

Use Technology

There are loads of apps and websites out there that you can pull into your presentation. You may be able to use a piece of music instead of bullet point to get your objective across. 

Perhaps there’s a comedy video you know of that will help make your point better than any slide can. Engage with your audience and bring them on stage to demonstrate a key part of your story.

All this helps to keep your audience interested so that they wonder what might be coming next.

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Make the Most of Your Voice and Body

Alter the speed at which you speak. Variations in pitch and tone all help to keep you more interesting to listen to. Always look your audience in the eye. Pretend you are giving your presentation to your best friend and you won’t go far wrong.

A lot of communication is not verbal. We can say a lot just with our eyes, for example. Your body language is a key way to get your point across.

You should always refrain from keeping your arms crossed. Make sure your hands are not held behind your back or in your pockets. Make use of your arms and hands to make a point.

Check out some of the best TV News correspondents for tips. Watch how they use their bodies to make a point when they’re on camera. 

Take Care of Yourself

Making a presentation doesn’t come easily to all of us. It does though get easier with practice. 

If you get nervous, a great place to start is to concentrate on your breathing. Slow it down and take long deep breaths. This allows you to de-stress and relax

Once you start enjoying giving presentations, it’s going to show. You will feel and look more confident.

If you make a mistake, move on. People know we’re all human and losing your way occasionally is quite normal.

Keep an Eye on the Time

Stick to your allotted time. It can be easy to run over and not finish everything you wanted to say. Pace yourself carefully as you go along so that you’re mindful of the time you have left to go.

How to Give a Presentation Effectively

If you follow our tips you’ll be well on the way to learning how to give a presentation that’s engaging and enjoyable.

Check us out for more great ideas to make your life more productive and stress-free.