Top 5 presentation tips – Part 2

Structuring a presentation

Now you know who you are presenting to and why, it’s time to work out what you are going to say. What you say forms the body of your presentation. This is where you make your key points.

Tip: Check how long you have been asked to speak for and time yourself accordingly

One of the biggest mistakes people make when speaking is to put too much information into their presentation. They end up going over time or drifting away from their main points. This distracts their audience, who lose attention. Ask yourself, “What do I want my audience to walk away with or remember at the end of my presentation?” Once you have answered this question, you can develop the main ideas for your presentation.

First impressions do count.

So how can you begin your presentation on the right foot, and set the stage for an enjoyable experience for both you and the audience? The best way to begin your talk is to use an impact opening technique – one that intrigues and grabs your audience’s attention.

It all starts with a good opener. They want you to interest them. So it’s vital that your opening words and the way you express yourself make a great impression.

You could start with a quote, a story, ask a rhetorical question or use statistics or facts (make sure they are simple, short and relevant). Communicate your key message in the opening as this will give your audience a reason to listen.

While the introduction is where you establish rapport and create a great impression, the conclusion is your last chance to create a lasting impression. It is how your audience will remember you and your key messages.

This is why your conclusion needs to draw all your key points together. It must:

  • Summarise your main points. If you have a specific point of view, you can reinforce it here.
  • Provide closure by giving your audience the feeling that the presentation or speech is complete.
  • Make a final impression – this is your last chance to influence your audience.
  • Identify your key points that fulfil your objective. Think about ways to open and close your presentation that will create impact and a lasting impression.

Look out for the 3rd part of Maureen Bell’s series in association with Quay Appointments, “Delivering a Confident Presentation” For more info visit

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