How to Give Outstanding Presentations

What is your greatest fear? 

One of the greatest fears in life is public speaking – right up there with heights, snakes,  spiders and being buried alive.

 Recently I was asked to do a presentation on ‘How to Give an Outstanding Presentation.’

I believe there are 3 Key Elements for giving an outstanding presentation

  • Knowing Your End Goal
  • Prepare and Practice
  • Being Enthusiasm and passionate

Starting with the end goal in mind helps to determine what you want the outcome of your End in Mindpresentation to be.  Ask yourself – What are you trying to accomplish? i.e. schedule appointment, sell a product or service, get donations, etc.?  What will be the ‘Call to Action’ at the end of the presentation?  Knowing the answers to these questions will help to build the outline for your presentation.

Preparation – ‘Success occurs when preparation meets opportunity.’  Zig Ziglar

  • Logistics – Most great speakers are taught to visualize their surroundings and a successful outcome. Always try and find out as much information about what your parameters will be for your presentation, i.e. How much time will you have?  Will you be able to use Power Point?  Will you have a white board (if you like to draw)?  Will an easel be available (if you need to capture information)?
  • Decide on Your Approach – Who will be your audience – prospects, customers/clients, business colleagues? Male/Female?  Age?  Industry? 
  • Prepare for Everything – ‘Whatever can go wrong, will go wrong.’ Hopefully not, but be prepared.  I had situations where my power point would not work, lost my notes, etc.  So Prepare and Practice, Prepare and Practice – so you can do it from memory.

All of the above will help you to prepare the outline and foundation for your presentation.

Power Point is a great tool to use (when available), however it can also be the Death of many a presentation.  I’m sure you’ve attended meetings where every power point slide was filled with text and the presenter just read the slides to you.  Kind of like the cartoon here of Dilbert. 

PowerPoint-cartoon - Dilbert

So if you do decide to use Power Point, keep these tips in mind –

  • Prepare slides that are interesting
    • Use photos and graphics because People are visual. Most think in pictures
    • No more than six words per slide
    • Don’t fill with technical info and stats
    • Don’t read every slide or from notes – only use slides as talking points
    • When using charts – illustrate one key point per slide
    • Prepare and Practice, Prepare and Practice

Here are some additional Dos and Don’ts for giving Outstanding Presentations

Dos Do’s

  • Rule of Three – 1) Explain in the beginning what you’re going to talk about, 2) Expand in the middle, and 3) Recap in the close – ‘Tell them, tell what you told them, and tell them again.’
  • Do be Enthusiastic and passionate. Speak from the heart.  When you’re are passionate about what you’re presenting typically nerves don’t come into play.  If you’ve prepared and practiced your confidence will show through.
  • I.S.S – Keep It Simple. Present the basic information and key points in the timeframe allotted.  If additional facts and stats are available, but you don’t have the time, include them in a handout, email them to the audience later, or provide a resource as a reference.  
  • Make it memorable – ‘Facts Tell – Stories Sell’ – Tell a story that is meaningful and relevant to the presentation.  This helps to make the information presented more memorable.
  • Get the audience involved especially in the beginning. This is a good ice breaker.  Ask a question.  Get them talking about the subject that will lead into your presentation.
  • Do have a call to action – ‘The conclusion of the delivery is the beginning of the dialog.’ What was your ‘End Goal?’  It should be your Call to Action.


  • Don’t use technical/industry jargon that your audience might not understand. Yes by knowing all the technical terms for your industry shows you know your stuff, but talking over the heads of your audience will not win you any points.
  • Don’t hand out material in the beginning – Why? Because you want your audience to pay attention to you and listen to your presentation.  Save it until the end.  The exception would be if you are doing training and you need the audience/students to follow along as you do the training.
  • Don’t Read Slides – use them as talking points, reminders for you and interesting for the audience
  • Don’t go over time limit – ‘The brain can only retain what the seat can endure.’ Most people quit listening when your time is up.  Statistics state for a 20 minute presentation that’s about at 17 minutes.  Save the last few minutes for Q&A.
  • Limit Q&A – There are a couple of different ways to handle Q&A. You can allow for questions within the time frame given, but don’t exceed the time limit.  Again when your time is up, wrap it up.  Explain to your audience that you will be glad to answer their questions after the meeting or schedule an appointment to discuss further.  Sometimes more sales are made with one to one discussions.

Some people don’t like to field questions from the audience.  Guess what, you don’t have too.  One way to handle this so that you won’t get caught off guard is to ‘plant’ questions.  Prior to your presentation, have pre-written questions that you can answer quickly, and give them to some of the audience members (usually someone you know.)  If you do get asked a question you can’t answer or would take to long to explain, tell the person you’ll get with them later.

Another way to handle is hand out 3×5 cards prior to the presentation.  Ask the audience to write down their questions and to put their name and contact information on the cards.  You could still field a few questions, but you have their information so that you can follow up later.

Sometimes answering to many questions can turn people off.  Leave them wanting to know more information.  A reason for you to follow up with them.

Sprinkler systemI hope you found this information helpful.  What are some of your techniques for giving outstanding presentations?  What presentations stand out in your mind as being unique and different?  We would love to hear about them.  Please share your comments.

Below are a few resources with some additional information that I found helpful.

Happy presenting,


Painted Lady Enterprises

‘Helping You and Your Business Look Good’

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