Tips and Tricks: Six Presentation Tactics to Rock Your Next Speech

Whether you’re pitching your team’s ideas to win over potential clients, acting as the spokesperson for your client during a crisis or counseling a client preparing for a major speaking opportunity, excellent presentation skills will come in handy sooner or later. Here are some tips and tricks from a Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) webinar and a couple of MoPR’s own to help you develop some killer presentation skills.

  1. Know your audience – Do some research to find out who will make up your audience. If you’re speaking at a conference, take a look at the attendee list to get an idea of what type of people will see your presentation and give some thought about how this information will impact the way you present. Should you utilize technical jargon, or keep your delivery fairly topical?
  2. Be yourself – Steve Jobs was a phenomenal presenter, but don’t try to be Steve Jobs. It’s perfectly fine to borrow presentation tactics from stellar public speakers, but be sure to develop your own style that you’re comfortable with and doesn’t appear forced to an audience.
  3. Have a strong opening – Audiences make judgments in a second and while you can’t control how someone will judge your personal appearance, you can start your presentation off with a bang. Don’t make your opening about yourself by rattling off your resume or qualifications, but try thinking of a memorable opening to grab your audience’s attention right off the bat.
  4. Tell a great story – Great presentations are all about great stories, which are one of the most effective communication strategies. Use a story to relate to your audience and humanize your presentation topic.
  5. Check in with your audience – Does your audience look bored? Are they completely lost? Be sure to assess how your audience is doing throughout your presentation. If you can, take questions throughout and make eye contact with audience members to gauge whether or not you need to switch up your approach.
  6. Reflect post presentation – Once you’ve finished your presentation, field audience questions and graciously accept your standing ovation (hopefully). It’s important to take a step back and look at both what you did well and what you could improve. Recording yourself is a great way to catch any nervous ticks or habits that you will want to be aware of, and also gives you a chance to watch yourself from the audience’s perspective.

What presentation tips and tricks would you add to this list?

Some of these pieces of advice were featured on a PRSA webinar titled, “11 Deadly Presentation Sins: A Path to Redemption for Public Speakers.” More training videos are available on the PRSA website for both members and nonmembers.