Public speaking skills

Learn Presentation Skills

Posted on September 18th, 2013

Three decades of management and sales training have convinced us that there is one skill any high potential must master – become an effective presenter and speaker. Nothing, but nothing, will build your confidence more effectively.


Most people think that presentation training is just about overcoming the stark terror of standing up in front of a group, but the confidence boost that comes from learning to sell to a group carries across to every aspect of communication.


Presentation training can indeed be a demanding, white knuckle experience, but training that doesn’t stretch us, that doesn’t help us to perform when we’re on the line, is of limited value. When you stretch people, they grow.


The discipline of preparation, of thinking through the audience’s requirements and expectations, of connecting with people personally, of establishing trust, is what provides a real insight into what sales and leadership is really about.


Whatever level of presentation skill you have now, whether you are in a sales or management role, our strongest advice is develop it further. Even people whose knees knock and hands shake before the smallest group can learn how to speak well.


It’s easier than it looks, much easier. You just have to work at it, polish it and do it over and over. Take every opportunity to stand up and present your ideas.


No skill opens more doors, creates more visibility or motivates more effectively.


Here’s a simple three step structure for creating any presentation


The opening, the body and the close. A presentation without structure is like a body without bones.


  1. The opening. Begin with an attention grabber. Be different – you don’t get a second chance to make a first impression. Use a question, a statement or humour to attract initial attention. Sell the content. What’s in it for them? Why should they listen?


  1. The body. Here you want a logical sequence of key points illustrated wherever possible with examples, stories or anecdotes. Stories communicate! The main objective of any presentation is to transfer a message to a group in such a way that they ‘buy’ and understand what is being said. Always follow the psychology of a sales process and offer benefits (not just features) that match the listeners’ expectations. Beware including streams of facts and figures (if necessary these should be dealt with in handouts)


  1. The close. Summarise the key points. Let the audience know that you are summarising – ‘To summarise …’ Link back to the attention grabber. Have a logical and strong close to the original question or statement. Call for action. Beware your voice ebbing at the end.


Above all remember that if you enjoy your presentation, your audience will as well.


Read more about LDL presentation skills training. In particular, have a look at our Presentation Skills training course which gives delegates the opportunity to practice their presentation skills in front of a small audience, on camera and in real time.