Giving a Professional Presentation Soon? 5 Steps to Hitting It Out of the Park


You may recall Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's girl with the little curl. When she was good she was very good indeed, and when she was bad she was horrid. Presentations are like this, and if you've ever sat through half an hour of a speaker mumbling into a microphone while you read dense PowerPoint slides and try to keep up, you've experienced the phenomenon. Fortunately, this means that if you're giving a professional presentation, you can make a great impression by doing presenting well.

Here are five tips to make your presentations stand out (in a good way):

  1. Give it focus. Make it clear from the outset why your topic matters to your audience and how you're going to deepen their understanding. Ensure that the  logical structure of your talk leads the audience through the steps they need to understand. If you need to put some information first so that your audience will be able to understand the core ideas, put it first, and let them know what you're doing.
  2. Construct a narrative. Audiences react better to stories than facts and figures, and they're likely to remember their implications longer and more clearly. When giving a professional presentation, use stories with specific details and real resonance to get your audience engaged.
  3. Be entertaining! Find the parts of your presentation that interest and excite you, and convey that interest. Use humor, but be sure the humor relates to the content of your talk. Rehearse in front of a friend or record yourself speaking to assess your stage presence .
  4. Don't overuse media. If your audience's attention is split between a slide and video while you're speaking, they won't retain information from either source well. Use media sparingly to create visual interest and reinforce points.
  5. Give them something to remember you by. It might be a book, a handout, a prototype, or a card with a URL to learn more, but give audience members a physical token that can call your presentation back to mind.

If you'd like to learn more about giving a professional presentation, contact us at Hurley Write, Inc.

Images via