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Five Hot Tips for Presentation

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A presentation is a high stakes situation.

Have you ever stood before an audience and felt incredibly vulnerable?

You may have felt like your reputation was on show.

A presentation is a place where you can pretty much make or break your reputation.

So I want to share with you 5 hot tips that I think you should consider next time you do a big presentation.

1. End before you start.

Have a clear picture about what action you want the audience to take before you even start planning your presentation.

Most people make the mistake of thinking what they have to say. But that’s not necessarily always the best starting point. Because when you think about it, the point of a presentation is either to shift people’s thinking, change people’s emotions, or get them to actually do something.

So at the start of the presentation, before you even think about “what do I want to say?” consider “what do I want my audience to do?

So in other words, end before you start.

2. Start strong.

The first 3 to 5 minutes is the most crucial part of any presentation. The first 3 minutes that you’re listening to someone, you’re on some level questioning whether you like them; whether you can trust them or whether they’re credible.

The first 3 minutes is almost like starting a race. Imagine running a hundred meter race. If you tripped off at the blocks, it’s going to be pretty challenging to catch up with the other players.

Those first 3 minutes are crucial. So making sure that you practiced it a number of times and feel really comfortable with that first 3 minutes is the second key to presenting effectively.

3. Use a balanced brain approach.

Any presentation needs to take into consideration the right and the left brain. If you’ve got too much left brain (i.e., too many graphs, too many facts, too many statistics, too much data), people are just going to glaze over. Now if you’ve got too much right brain (i.e., too many stories, too many metaphors), people are going to say, “Well, what studies do you have? What facts do you have to support this?”

So for every presentation to be effective, it has to have a balanced brain approach. I was mentoring a manager recently working on his presentation. He was speaking about asset management.

Let’s be frank, “Asset management” is not a sexy topic. And he said to me, “Colin, in past presentations, I could literally see people falling asleep with their eyes open. So we used the balanced brain approach to re-engineer his speech. We brought in some nice metaphors, some stories. We had this story about this guy called George who was one of the first clients that he’s ever worked with.

We weaved this story about George at the start and at the end and just beautifully tied the presentation together. He wrote back to me and said, “Colin, the people loved it! And they loved me.”

It just brought a smile to my face and to my heart because when I think about it, bringing this balanced brain approach of right and left brain is one of the keys to creating engaging and persuasive presentations.

4. Use powerpoint as an aid, not the presentation.

The fourth hot tip that I have for you around building a powerful presentation is using powerpoint as an aid, not the presentation.

Think about it like a walking stick, in a sense. The walking stick doesn’t make you walk; it just helps you walk. So don’t have every single word up in your Powerpoint. Think of powerpoint as an aid to support or reinforce what you’re saying, not to actually say what you’re saying.

So simple images, one simple word. Just a nice reinforcement, rather than too complex ideas in the presentation will make a big difference to making your presentation powerful.

5. Use the Third Time Lucky method.

The 5th and last idea that I have for you is to use the 3rd Time Lucky Method.

Have you ever been thinking about an approaching “first time” presentation, and thought “How is this going to go!??” How is it going to come out of my mouth?” So often people make a mistake of just practicing their presentation in their head and not practicing it out loud.

So as a recommendation, I believe that you should practice your presentation out loud from end to end at least 3 times.

Do it in front of a mirror, or in front of a friend or a colleague, or even just standing there in your office by yourself. That might look a bit weird, though (I don’t want you to be looking weird in your office!) But what I’m saying is practice 3 times. In other words, the first time you deliver your actual presentation LIVE will be the fourth time you’ve delivered it. That will help you be elegant and fluent with the delivery of it.

So they’re the 5 hot tips that I would recommend that you have in your next presentation.

I hope this article has been valuable.

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3 comments
    matt menzies When are you coming surfing Collin?
    I want to see your skills out in the ocean again 🙂
    OG Mandingo Point 4: To be honest I read through your video presentation and didn’t actually listen or watch it. I suppose a summary of your points there instead of a full transcript would have backed up point 4. Just my thoughts.
    Will Ross Third time lucky.
    We all know we SHOULD practice. But what do we mean by “practice”? That sort of vagueness is one more thing in the way of actually doing it. A clear instruction, “go through it three times, aloud”, gets me past that decision point.

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