Secrets of Successful Presentations

Does the thought of speaking in front of others send you running in the opposite direction? Youâ??re not alone. Many people avoid public speaking at all costs â?" and there is a cost. Public speaking is one of the quickest, most efficient ways to market yourself, your message, business, or cause. Those who are willing to make presentations immediately stand out from the majority who are not. Whether itâ??s an audience of five people or 500, itâ??s worth it to invest in your skills.

After coaching hundreds of clients in presentation skills, Iâ??m convinced that anyone can improve and gain confidence by following a few simple techniques:

Know Your Audience. Most presentations fail because the speaker never took the time to find out anything about his audience. Knowing your audience means finding out as much information as possible in advance so that you can successfully match your message to their interests and needs. Helpful information includes: gender breakdown, average age, and their current or past experience with your topic. If itâ??s not possible to learn your audience in advance, then at the very least, arrive early and spend a few minutes meeting people. Or, begin your presentation by asking some general questions like, â??Who has experience withâ?¦?â?? This also helps to calms nerves as you are taking the focus off you, and putting it on your audience where it belongs.

Forget Memorizing. One of the biggest fears Iâ??ve heard from my clients is that theyâ??ll freeze up and forget what comes next. That can happen if you try to memorize your entire speech. All it takes is forgetting one word to trip you up. Instead, only memorize the opening and closing. Looking directly at your audience when you start and finish makes a strong, positive impression. For the middle section, itâ??s fine to glance at note cards with bullet points, or refer to your PowerPoint presentation to jog your memory. Do not, however, write out your whole speech word for word! Youâ??ll be tempted to read it instead of connecting with your audience.

Open with a Bang. Itâ??s important to grab attention immediately. A good opening sparks interests, sets expectations, previews whatâ??s to come, and offers benefits. There are several ways to start: ask a question, tell a story, humor (careful with this one unless youâ??re naturally funny), quotes, dramatic statistics, or music/video. Give your audience a reason to listen, and build your credibility as the best person to be speaking on this topic.

Make it Memorable. Signposting is a way to help your audience follow and remember what youâ??re saying. Phrases that focus listening are: â??The point is this,â?? and â??The most important thing to remember is.â?? Another strategy is to number your points as in, â??Iâ??ll be offering three ideas, the first one isâ?¦â??

In Closing. Audiences are most likely to remember the last thing they hear. A strong closing should be memorized and review your main points. Motivate the audience to do something â?" take an action, ask a question, have an emotional response, or think differently. Make it clear what it is youâ??re asking them to do (and if you donâ??t know, re-think the purpose of your speech).

Calming Nervousness. Most nerves are caused when the speaker focuses on himself instead of the audience. A speaker might think to himself, â??What if I say something stupid?â?? or â??I hope I donâ??t trip.â?? That kind of self-absorption puts up a wall between you and the audience. By shifting your focus to the audience, youâ??ll forget about yourself and start connecting with them. Second, some nervousness is a good thing! Itâ??s an indication that you care what your audience thinks and can serve as a strong motivator to do well. The goal is not to eliminate nerves, but to use that energy in a positive way.

Susan Fee is a licensed counselor, communications expert, and author of Positive First Impressions: 83 Ways to Establish Confidence, Competence, and Trust (available through her Web site at http://www.susanfee.com). She specializes in coaching individuals in making successful presentations.

In The News:

Eight presentation pitfalls to avoid if you want to make more sales  Dealer Support MagazineBy Karen O'Donnell, Toastmasters International. A presentation provides you with an opportunity to sell your product, *service* or message to an audience.
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Fredonia board hears water project presentation | News, Sports, Jobs  Evening ObserverFredonia has a lot of renovations coming up for its water filtration system, and the Village Board heard a presentation about it from O'Brien and Gere enginee.
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MILL presentation set for Friday | Free Content  Mountain Mail NewspaperThe MILL, a technical and vocational center in Colorado Springs, is the subject of an informational presentation at 12:30 p.m. Friday at the Buena Vista ...
Springfield Cannabis Co. gets higher grades on updated presentation for proposed marijuana store in East Springfield  MassLive.comAfter a city councilor dubbed its first effort "a colossal waste of time," the company presented updated plans for its proposed recreational marijuana store at 732 ...
Train Toilet Presentation and Maintenance Products  Railway TechnologyChela has compiled a range of high-performance products for difficult cleaning and odour problems that train operators and cleaning contractors encounter.
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Elements of Presentation Management Strategy  Business.comYou put a lot of work into that presentation. Why not have a system in place for your company to get the most out of it?
Church to present annual Bethlehem Village presentation | Events  Victoria AdvocateThe congregation of Grace Lutheran Church is inviting the public to walk through Bethlehem Village for a special Christmas event from 6 to 8 p.m. Friday and ...
ESPN's Presentation of Heisman Trophy Ceremony Up 33% Year-Over-Year; Best Audience in Multiple Seasons  ESPN MediaZoneBy Derek Volner @DerekVolner. Posted on December 11, 2018. AddThis Sharing Buttons. Share to Facebook Share to Twitter Share to Email App Share to ...
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Wells Fargo Shares Takeaways From Canopy Growth CEO's New York Presentation (NYSE:CGC)  BenzingaOn Dec. 11, the Consumer Analyst Group of New York hosted a group luncheon where Canopy Growth Corp. (NYSE: CGC) CEO Bruce Linton presented.
Leinster Schools Senior Cup: Blackrock to open against Presentation College  The Irish TimesMeanwhile, Belvedere will take on Cistercian College, Roscrea in the oprning round.
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Tosk Announces kRAS Presentation at AACR Meeting  EIN NewsTosk, U.S. National Cancer Institute's (NCI) Frederick National Laboratory and the Texas Tech Health Sciences Center makes joint presentation in San Diego.
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Sunday: Dolphinaris to hold free 'dolphin behavior presentation' on Sunday  ABC15 ArizonaDolphinaris Arizona is hosting a free "dolphin behavior presentation" and a holiday show on Sunday. The show will start at 4 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 9.
WRUS hosts free presentation, 'The Road Less Traveled'  MyEasternShoreMDCENTREVILLE — Wye River Upper School is hosting an informative presentation by Carolyn Jeppsen, "The Road Less Traveled: The Case for Internships and ...
Student Gives Presentation on Backpack Program | www.rocket-courier.com  Wyalusing Rocket CourierThe joint board of directors for the Elk Lake School District and the Susquehanna County Career and Technology Center (SCCTC) met on Dec. 4 to wrap up the ...
PHOTOS: Yarmouth Dance Academy presents annual presentation of The Nutcracker  The VanguardYARMOUTH, N.S. – The Yarmouth Dance Academy held its annual production of The Nutcracker at Th'YARC on Dec. 7-9. Here are images from the productions ...
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AECOM Technology (ACM) Investor Presentation - Slideshow  Seeking AlphaThe following slide deck was published by AECOM Technology Corporation in conjunction with this event.
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Travis Strikes Again: No More Heroes Presentation Set For December 20, 2018  SiliconeraSuda51 has announced a two-hour long Travis Strikes Again: No More Heroes presentation for December 20, 2018.
Nativity comes to life in Murrieta church presentation  Press-EnterpriseLive animals and costumed church members aimed to remind people of what they called the true meaning of Christmas. They staged a series of living Nativity ...
Five ways to break your dependency on PowerPoint in presentations  Fast CompanyIf you can rely on the strength of your words and ideas, let those persuade your audience.
On this day in FC Cincinnati history: The final MLS expansion presentation  Cincinnati.comOf the many important days in FC Cincinnati's push for MLS expansion, one of the most dramatic and memorable occurred exactly one year ago.
Seven tips for presenting when the stakes are high  Chartered Management InstituteA new book from a CMI fellow tells us how to nail public speaking.
Chico Nature Center hosts presentation on the science of wildfires  KRCRTV.COMThe Chico Creek Nature Center hosted a presentation on the science behind wildfires, Thursday night in the aftermath of the Camp Fire. Dozens of Chico locals ...
Tanbridge House School Presentation Evening  The District PostYear 12 students returned to Tanbridge House School earlier this month, when they were invited back in for a special evening of celebrations. On Wednesday.
Students' suicide awareness presentation wins HOSA regional competition  Hometownlife.comThree Farmington students won the regional HOSA competition with a project to make teens more aware of how stress contributes to thoughts of suicide.
Tuscarawas County Anti-Drug Coalition holds community drug presentation  New Philadelphia Times ReporterTuscarawas County Anti-Drug Coalition held the community drug presentation From the Heart – A Life Worth Saving at the Quaker Cinema in New Philadelphia.
EQT Postpones Conference Call to Discuss 2019 Guidance and Updated Analyst Presentation  Business WireEQT Corporation's (NYSE: EQT) conference call to discuss the company's 2019 capital program and updated analyst presentation that was previously sched.
Public Invited to Urban3 Presentation about Northfield's Tax Base  kymnradio.netOn behalf of the Northfield Economic Development Authority, I invite you to attend a presentation from Urban3 to hear about Northfield's tax base composition ...
American Water Works (AWK) Investor Presentation - Slideshow  Seeking AlphaThe following slide deck was published by American Water Works Company, Inc. in conjunction with this event.
The Bowerman Presentation To Be Carried LIVE On ESPN3 ::: The Bowerman: The Nation's Top Award for Collegiate Track & Field Athletes  U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches AssociationNEW ORLEANS – The U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) is pleased to announce that the tenth presentation of The ...
Microsoft PowerPoint is getting real-time captions and subtitles for presentations  The VergeMicrosoft is adding real-time captions and subtitles to PowerPoint for Windows, Mac, and online in early 2019. The new features will allow speakers to translate ...
Presentation of Felda white paper in Parliament postponed to 2019 due to legal issues  The Edge Markets MYKUALA LUMPUR (Dec 10): The presentation of a white paper on the Federal Land Development Authority (Felda) in Parliament, by the Ministry of Economic ...
Pearl Harbor presentation  Bradenton HeraldModesto High alums hear from a fellow grad who served in the Philippines in World War II and an Oakdale resident born in a Japanese-American internment ...
South East Idaho Fly Fishers to host fly tying, fishing presentation Thursday  Idaho State JournalSouth East Idaho Fly Fishers will be hosting a special presentation by East Idaho fly tying expert Gary Barnes on Thursday at the Idaho Fish and Game office in ...
Aphria gets first downgrade since short seller's presentation  BNNBloomberg.caAphria Inc. (APHA.TO 8.21%) (APHA.N), a target of a short seller presentation earlier this week, just got its first downgrade from the Street. Eight Capital's ...
Carson City Library 'not just for books' presentation Friday  Nevada AppealCarson City Nevada Triad presents The Library: It's Not Just for Books Anymore, a presentation designed to help people become more aware about the many ...
Annie Creek Events Presentation to Valley City Area Chamber  newsdakota.comVALLEY CITY, N.D. (NewsDakota.com) – Would you like to have a summer concert series in downtown Valley City or not? That question was posed to members ...
Make Great Presentations Like Sheryl Sandberg, Dan Pink And Eric Schmidt  ForbesWhat do great business leaders presenters such as Sheryl Sandberg of Facebook, author Dan Pink and Eric Schmidt of Google have in common? Thanks to ...
Presentation planned for major renovation at St. Joseph County library  WSBT-TVHappening Thursday night is your chance to learn more about a major renovation project at the main branch of the St. Joseph County library. The more than $36 ...
This Is How You Break Down Granite Point's Q3 2018 Presentation  Seeking AlphaThe quarter was decent. Earnings came in in line on GAAP and a penny under on Core EPS. That's rounding error differences. Don't focus too much on the ...
Photos: Mozart Club's presentation of Handel's "Messiah"  Winston-Salem JournalMembers of the 118-member chorus perform Part II of Handel's Messiah as presented by the Mozart Club, Sunday, Dec. 2, 2018 at Reynolds Auditorium.
Regency Centers Invites You to Join Its Fourth Quarter 2018 Conference Call and 2019 Guidance Presentation  Business WireRegency Centers Corporation (The “Company”) (NASDAQ:REG) will announce its Fourth Quarter 2018 earnings results and initiate 2019 guidance on ...
Whyalla High presentation | PHOTOS  Whyalla NewsStudents and staff receive awards at Whyalla High School Presentation Night.
AMC Potluck and Presentation: Paddle Maine — User Submitted — Bangor Daily News — BDN Maine  Bangor Daily NewsBRUNSWICK — There will be an AMC potluck and presentation at 6 p.m. Thursday, May 2 at Curtis Memorial Library, 23 Pleasant Street. Join Scott Shea ...
#SecureTheSemester With Help From The Study and 'Presentation U'  UKNowFinals week is right around the corner, but the most wonderful time of the year shouldn't be the most stressful. Transformative Learning, your one-stop shop for ...
Flames of Memory and Christmas in Wartime Presentation  Lynchburg News and Advance6 p.m., National D-Day Memorial, 3 Overlord Circle. Presentation with thousands of luminaries set up to honor the 4413 men killed on D-Day. Event also will be ...
Vision For Bay Jax Innovation Corridor Turned Into Video Presentation  WJCT NEWSPlans for a transportation, energy and safety innovation coordinator running through Bay Street in downtown Jacksonville have been visualized in a new video ...
UPDATED: FEC approves 2019 budget for presentation to NASS  The PunchJohn Ameh, Abuja. The Federal Executive Council, presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari, on Friday approved the proposals for the 2019 budget.
Regents to Hear Facilities Master Plan Presentation at Dec. 14 Meeting  Southeast Missouri State University NewsThe Southeast Missouri State University Board of Regents will hear a presentation from the Lawrence Group, which is spearheading a comprehensive master ...
Presentation to cover Medicare changes  Chico Enterprise-RecordA brief presentation on Medicare changes for 2019 will be presented 9:30 a.m. to noon Tuesday at Enloe Conference Center, 1528 Esplanade. Sponsored by ...
Historical Society to host presentation on history of courthouse clocks  State GazetteThe clocks on the courthouse dome have watched over downtown Dyersburg for over 100 years. While originally controlled by a Seth Thomas clock mechanism, ...

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