My Top 3 Tips for Great Presentations

After the great response to last year’s post 3 Tools to Conquer Your Fear of Presenting I thought I would continue on the presentation line this week.  “3 Tools” was about conquering your fear of presenting . This week we address my three tips for great presentations.


PresentationsSo what is a great presentation?  How do we measure the success of a presentation? This is a pretty important question that needs to be addressed before you walk in front of an audience.  As a keynote speaker I measure my success by the number of people that come up to me afterwards to talk to me and the immediate response from my primary sponsor. In a sales presentation, your success might be measured by a signature afterwards, a commitment to another meeting or a favorable response from the customer. Whatever the position you are in, it is important to be sure you know why you are presenting, what you want out of it and how you will measure success.


When I talk about great presentations it cannot be just about style and content, but rather did your presentation achieve the desired outcome.


My three tips today will apply to any presentation you embark on.


  1. Passion

If your audience cannot feel your passion for the subject, your chances of ‘success’ are less than otherwise.  If you are passionate about the topic, the idea or the potential outcome, your audience will feel it and see it during your presentation.  Passion is a key ingredient to the successful delivery of any message.


  1. Uniqueness

Your presentations need to be memorable.  If they are the ‘same old, same old’ with basic visuals and typically common messages, success will be difficult to find. In my life, I have found that the more unique my presentations are the better my chances are of success. I figure that uniqueness leads to memorable. And so often this is my objective.


To be unique, I use tools that most have not seen in a presentation. In a keynote scenario I am always using Prezi, an alternative to your basic PowerPoint (  With large crowds I use Pollanywhere which allows me to pull the audience using their cell phones and text messaging. I try to embed videos in my presentations as often as I can, providing a break from the continuous output of words and text on the screen. I’ve even used videos completely unrelated to a presentation just to break the message in hopes of the total package being more memorable. I will always use a wireless mic and move around the audience.


In a selling situation, I might even leave the technology behind and create a very well-crafted whiteboard scene for the audience. This approach can stimulate better conversation after the presentation as everyone can see each section covered on the whiteboard.


Uniqueness is important in any selling or influencing role. Many people have come before you to communicate the same story or sell the same product. Your approach needs to be different and using unique tools and unique approaches can put your presentation a cut above the others.


  1. Entertaining

The entertainment factor is often thought of as the domain of the keynote or inspirational speaker. As this is now a big part of my life I’m constantly trying to find ways to entertain the audience as well as inspire and educate.


But the truth is that your presentation can be memorable not only through its uniqueness but its entertainment quality as well. I’m not suggesting a poorly placed joke but I am suggesting fun graphics, fun videos, and even parts of the presentation that require some fun audience engagement. A good story is entertaining – one that ties the message to the audience.  Sometimes, in a few circumstances, your appearance could be part of the entertainment – a well-placed hat, or sweater or a strategic pin.   I have seen speakers get the audience physically involved or at least physically moving.  Standing up to stretch, even 30 seconds of stretching to music. Getting people to move seats halfway through to encourage networking can be fun – very disruptive – but fun.


There are many ways to make your presentation more entertaining. You need to find that the fun factor and get people smiling a little bit more. Entertainment leads to memorable.


So first be sure the desired outcome is very clear.  Then think about the passion you are going to demonstrate, the uniqueness of your presentation and the fun factor.  It all counts.


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