Presenting for Success – Grounding Yourself to Become a Star Presenter

Posted by Simon 01 May 2011
Filed under Individuals, Personal Empowerment, Professional Impact.

Grounding Yourself to Become a Star Presenter

It is often said: Prior preparation prevents pathetically poor performance.

It could equally be said that: Prior preparation prevents pathetically poor presentations.

For many of us, making presentations is a regular part of our professional life. Some of us present to colleagues and fellow employees. Some of us present to clients and potential customers. Others make presentations as a key function of their job. (And of course there are the times when we’re called upon to make a speech as part of another’s life transition e.g. a friend’s wedding or a relative’s funeral.)

To highlight the significance of prior preparation, here’s a little quiz:

  1. What do most business audiences want to do during a presentation?
  2. What do most business presenters want to do during a presentation?
  3. What do most audiences forget 24 hours after a presentation?
  4. What is the time taken to put an audience to sleep when the presenter reads from the slides?


  1. Get out of the room
  2. Sit down in the audience
  3. What was presented, the title of the presentation or the presenter’s name
  4. 30 seconds

Effective communication relies on balance and harmony between what we say, how we say it and how we deliver it.

By becoming more aware of what we are seeking to achieve in our presentations, we can focus our attention on correct preparation and thereby achieve greater success. Grounding yourself as you prepare and plan your presentation allows you to lay the right foundations upon which to launch your presentation.

You might be asking, “So, what’s your point?”

My point is: “your starting point is whatever the point of your presentation is!”

This is more than merely starting with the end in mind. It is about asking yourself “What am I seeking from this presentation?”

And it’s surprising just how often the point of a presentation isn’t clarified at the outset when the presentation was being prepared, let alone whilst it was being delivered. Many an audience has come away from a presentation asking themselves (or each other): “What was that all about?” or more realistically, in today’s vernacular, simply “WTF?”

The key thing to remember is that whilst you should be able to clearly articulate to anyone “The point of my presentation is…” ultimately the point of your presentation is YOU.

The reason for this is quite simple. Whilst your audience (whether one person or a group of thousands) has their reasons for being there, it is ultimately you who is seeking an outcome from delivering the presentation.

In other words, you have an objective that you are seeking to achieve. Broadly speaking, in a business context, this objective will be one of the following:

  • An order
  • Funding
  • Approval
  • Support
  • Recommendation
  • Referrals

So ask yourself,

  1. What is it that I am seeking from my audience?
  2. How are my presentations currently fulfilling that need?
  3. How are my presentations currently hindering that need?

Once you have identified these you have the foundations to begin to prepare a presentation that will have the desired impact for both yourself and your audience. But you have to fully understand just who the audience is.

We will discuss other elements of Presenting for Success in upcoming posts. The next will focus on Knowing the Audience.

In the interim, feel free to contact us to learn more about our Presenting For Success program.

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