How to Make Sure You Deliver a Great Presentation

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If you want to deliver a great presentation, concentrate on the moment before.

There’s a psychology behind a great presentation – a mental game, if you will, that can help you to make sure your next presentation is your best.

Here are some ideas that can make a real difference when it’s time to deliver your next presentation or pitch.

When you speak, do you talk with authenticity and conviction? It’s difficult to overcome the natural response to public speaking – that fear that grips every presenter (professional or not!) anytime you stand up in front of a group.

How can we overcome the natural response to public speaking: fear, withdrawal, and nervousness? I mean, have you experienced that fear-based shutdown, in front of a group?
Let me tell you: I have.

That statement may surprise you, but it’s true – and that memory, though long ago in my past, serves as a constant reminder of how I fight the fear every time I speak to groups. (I couldn’t do what I do without that memory, and it’s not something I’m proud of. But that’s why I’m committed to helping others to make sure they never make the same mistakes I have!)

Here are some great presentation ideas on how to prepare for your next important message

  • SMILE: most people think of an elevator speech (or any speech) as something worse than visiting the dentist. Surprise your listener; enjoy what you are saying. A simple smile can make it easier to listen. Surprises are disarming (in a good way) and it makes it easy to listen to what comes next.
  • BREATHE , TAKE YOUR TIME: Even if you are on a deadline, even if time is of the essence, even if fear is gripping your lungs…you still have the ability to take a breath, and take your time. Gather your thoughts, and it will help you to avoid the dreaded “Um”. As John Wooden said, “Be Quick…But Don’t Hurry”. Get your bearings, and then – – get going!
  • ENERGIZE YOUR PRESENTATION: If you want to be compelling (and, by the way, all elevator pitches are persuasive) you need to make sure that you care about your subject. Otherwise, how do you expect your listener to care? Remember, your audience has never heard this before. Start strong, and you never know what good things might happen once you start speaking.

What has helped you, just before a presentation? Where do you place your attention, and why, when you are looking for great presentation ideas?

Chris Westfall is an award-winning MBA instructor at the Business Leadership Center at SMU’s Cox School of Business. He has been recognized as the Communicator of the Year at the top MBA program for developing strong business communication skills, according to The Princeton Review.

He is also the US national elevator pitch champion.

His latest book is called BulletProof Branding and you can find it online here .


Headline image courtesy of Laughing Squid, used under creative commons license. Some rights reserved.


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