Presentation skills: The One Thing That Makes Every Presentation Better

  • Presentation skills:  The One Thing That Makes Every Presentation Better

    Presentation skills: The One Thing That Makes Every Presentation Better

    Are you thinking about an upcoming event?  Are you wondering what to put on your slides, what to say, and what to wear?  In this blog, I give you the one thing that will make every presentation you do better.

    Simply, turn all that thinking around.  Stop thinking about yourself, and put the audience at the center of everything that you do.

    The audience is doing you a favor but giving you their time and their attention.  But, audience’s are finicky, and with a smart phone within reach, they always have options for their attention.  To ensure that your presentation isn’t relegated to second place, put the audience in the forefront of everything you do.  Here are three more specific suggestions:

    #1 Think about your audience and their purpose.

    Number 1, think about your audience’s situation.  Who are they?  What do they know and believe about your topic?  What is their purpose for attending your presentation?  What are their goals?  Of course, you’ll also consider your goals.  But, by starting with the audience and their goals, your presentation can take the audience on a journey from their current state to your desired future state.

    #2 Think about your audience when you develop your presentation.

    Number 2, think about the audience as you decide upon the content, structure, and as you develop the presentation slides.  For example, is your audience technical and analytical?  Or, do they focus on the big picture?  Will they be worried about how your idea affects their customer, or how it impacts the budget?

    Even if you’re trying to sell something, you can put your audience first.  Address their problem and focus on content that matters to them.  Leave the rest in back-up slides, or for them to read in the brochure.

    #3 Think about your audience during your speech.

    Number 3, think about your audience when you deliver your presentation.  In a small presentation, try to look at each audience member.  And don’t just look them in the eye, but see them.  Your audience are living and breathing people, so make sure to see them that way.  Try to read the expressions on their faces.  Take care of their needs and comfort with questions like, “can you hear me?”  Or, “was that clear?”  When you see a look of confusion, stop and say, “I see that some of you are confused, so let me repeat that explanation.”   Of course to focus on your audience, you’ll need to know your presentation well.

    So, the one thing that makes every presentation better is to focus on the audience, not yourself.


    Kimberly VanLandingham is an international communication trainer, adviser, speaker, and CEO.  Presentation Training in Switzerland by European Market Link Sàrl offers open courses, private coaching and corporate presentation and public speaking training courses in English in Switzerland.  We specialize in technical, sales and business training for analytical minds and international companies.

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