101 Public Speaking Tips


101 Public Speaking TipsNo matter what people tell you, public speaking is not a skill that people who are lucky at the lottery of life possess while the rest of us are doomed to failure. Anyone can develop presentation skills, and with just a little practice, anyone can become a world-class speaker. Below are 101 public speaking tips that will help you reduce stage fright and become more self-confident. Don’t try to memorize all 101 tips, and don’t try to apply every single one before your next presentation. Instead, bookmark this page and pick one single tip to master during your next speech. Then come back over and over to try new ideas.

One of the challenges with tip pages like these is that readers are often embarrassed by their fear and try to hide it, but if you have presentation stage fright, chances are, there are tons of others out there who need your help as well. So, if you get value out of these tips, make sure and link to it or post it on Facebook or Linked-In. Help us help more people, please.

Design a Good Skeleton of a Presentation

  1. Create a Clear and Specific Title or Topic: If you create a vague or general title, you will have a vague and general (hard to deliver) speech. Get specific and focused. For instance, instead of talking about “Last Year Financials,” talk about how “Cost Saving Measures and Increased Sales Led to Higher Profit”. Remember in High School when you had to give book reports? It is really boring to hear 32 versions of “Book Report about Julius Cesar,” but “Julius Cesar is a Metaphor for High School Peer Pressure” is much more interesting.
  2. Limit Your Support to a Few Most Important Points: Once you have a good topic, prove that your point or conclusion is true by using just three, four, or five key support items. Spend more time proving your few points versus adding more and more and more additional points. Your audience will only remember a few items that you cover, so make sure they are the most important points. If you have trouble determining what points to use or narrowing down to just a few points, go back to tip number one and adjust your topic.
  3. Add Stories: Stories are easy to remember and easy to deliver to an audience, so your nervousness will drop as you relay stories to your audience. Examples also help you prove your bullet points in a way that makes it easy for the audience to remember.
  4. Use Stories as Facts and Figures: Most presenters like to create long list of bullet points with facts and figures. Instead, give your audience the story behind the number. For instance, (1) revenue increased 10% (2) closing ratios went up 3% (3) advertising costs decreased 15% and (4) profit went up 15% is easily forgotten and will take up a whole PowerPoint slide. However, “At the beginning of the last quarter, we changed our advertising strategy and focused more on repeat business from current clients versus spending money to attract new clients. We stopped sending mailers to the mailing list that we used in the past, and we sent multiple mailers to past customers instead. We were able to cut the mailing cost by 15% in this move, and since the sales team had fewer leads, they were able to spend more time developing repeat business and increased their closing ratios by 3% and total revenue by 10%. Since cost were down as well, the combination of increased revenue and decreased advertising cost let to a 15% increase in profit.” Much easier to remember, much easier to deliver, and no bullet points needed.

  5. We jammed a lot of content into this tip page, so come back often to renew your focus. Remember that the Fearless Presentations ® class helps participants implement every one of these 101 principles! Our self-help books give these tips and more in greater detail.


    Reduce Public Speaking Fear

  6. Practice with a Partner: Now that you have a good outline and skeleton of a presentation, practice delivering the speech with a friend or coworker. Practicing alone is a bad idea, because you are your own worst critic. When you practice with a friend, though, you will get good verbal and visual feedback.
  7. Avoid Video Feedback: Video feedback can be a fantastic way to grow as a speaker, but it can also scare the gooey out of you. Avoid video feedback unless you have a really good coach, professionally trained, to go over it with you. Going it alone can cause a lot of challenges.
  8. Get Good at Delivering without Notes and Visual Aids: Since you are practicing a fairly simple speech right now, practice it without notes. Just write your three, four, or five key points on a slide or flip chart and practice delivering the presentation by really developing you stories. At this point, you will only really need to remember which story you want to use for each of your points. Keep it simple.
  9. Butterflies are Normal: At this point, as you practice, you might start to feel butterflies in your stomach or other symptoms of public speaking fear. Don’t worry. This is normal. However, as you practice once or twice, the nervousness should drop pretty dramatically.
  10. Lose Train of Thought? If you lose your train of thought and feel some panic, then one of a couple of things might be happening. You likely have a bunch of bullet points that are difficult to remember. If so, go back through the earlier tips and design your speech differently. If you are feeling light headed and confused, though…
  11. Breath: When we get nervous, we tend to breath more shallowly. When this happens, the speaker will not have enough oxygen which makes the panic even greater… Which alters the breathing even more. When you feel this happening, just stop, and take a deep breath from the diaphragm. To keep this from happening, take a nice deep breath before you say your first sentence.
  12. Realize 90% of Nervousness Doesn’t Show: The audience usually can’t see the butterflies, or shaky hands, or sweaty palms. The problem occurs when we start thinking about these symptoms rather than focusing on the audience and our topic. By human nature, most people are focused on themselves not on you. Focus on them and two things will happen: 1) they will like you more, and 2) much of the nervousness that you feel will go away.
  13. Avoid Writing Presentation Word for Word: don’t fall into the trap of writing everything out so that you don’t forget something. You will be likely to just read it to the audience and probably sound boring when you do. Design you outline as we described above, and you will sound and feel more confident.
  14. Avoid Memorizing Your Entire Speech: Most people believe that if they memorize their written speech, they will sound better than when they read it. It is possible, but not likely, though. More likely, the speaker will, at some point, forget something and panic. Instead, follow the guidelines above to design a good skeleton of a speech, and just memorize your stories.

  15. We jammed a lot of content into this tip page, so come back often to renew your focus. Remember that the Fearless Presentations ® class helps participants implement every one of these 101 principles! Our self-help books give these tips and more in greater detail.


    Add Energy to Your Presentation

  16. Add Energy and Enthusiasm: Enthusiasm is the absolute most important public speaking secret. If you have energy and enthusiasm, your audience will love you. Be excited about your topic, and your audience will be excited about your presentation.
  17. Talk with Your Hands: We all naturally speak with our hands, but for some reason, when we stand up to speak, we tend lock up our body language and lose a lot of our natural energy. Drop you hands when you start a speech, then use them to explain you points. (By the way, if you tell a lot of stories, this will happen naturally.)
  18. Make Your Gestures Bigger than Your Body: In a small room, try to make your gestures outside of your torso. Small gestures below the shoulders and close to your body make you look weak and timid. The higher and wider your gestures are, the more confident you appear. When we get nervous, we want a barrier between us and the threat, so the small gestures show the audience that you are threatened by them. Make the gestures bigger.
  19. Exaggerate Gestures in Big Venues: As your audience gets bigger, so should your gestures. If you have a lectern, (most people call it a podium, but the podium is actually the small stage that a speaker stands on) the audience will not see your gestures unless you over-exaggerate them. Make your gestures huge. They will look very normal to the audience.
  20. Speak Faster: This tip goes against conventional wisdom in public speaking, but it is one of the most valuable tips. Speak faster! Really… When you talk faster, you add natural energy to your presentation. Think about the last time that you were excited about something. How did you tell people about it? We’re you slow and measured or fast and exaggerated? Talk faster, and the audience will get excited about you and your topic. I know what you are thinking… “Everyone else tells me to slow down.” We’ll, everyone else doesn’t get paid tens of thousands of dollars every time they speak and are probably pretty boring. If you want to be like them, do what they tell you. If you want to be a great speaker, speak faster.
  21. Move Faster: so, not only do you want to move more and bigger, but also faster. For instance, when you walk to the front, don’t run, but take about a half-step faster pace than normal. If you walk like you are going to the gallows, you will suck energy out of the room and leave an impression of being boring. If you move like you want to get to the front of the room, you will push energy into the room.
  22. Speak Up; Your voice is your best tool when you present, so use it. If you are quiet, the audience will question your authority on the subject. Increase your volume a little to show the audience that you are in control.
  23. Change Your Tone: What do they call boring speakers? Right, “mono-tone”. When we get nervous, especially when we memorize a presentation word-for-word, we tend to zoom through the presentation because we are afraid we will forget something. Most often, a speaker will sound very monotone when he/she does this. By the way, this is different from the “speaking faster” that I mentioned above. The reason why most coaches will tell a speaker to “slow down” is because most speakers zoom through memorized speeches with little or no emphasis on content, so the tone stays the same all the way through. Instead, design you speech like we talked about about, and make a conscious effort to call attention to words or phrases that need to be emphasized. “It made a HUGE difference,” versus “It was a huge difference.”

  24. We jammed a lot of content into this tip page, so come back often to renew your focus. Remember that the Fearless Presentations ® class helps participants implement every one of these 101 principles! Our self-help books give these tips and more in greater detail.


    Add Impact and Pizzaz to Your Presentation

  25. Make Your Title Audience Focused: Go back to your title now and redesign it so that it has a major “want” of the audience. Just look at the title as you have it and ask “why” does the audience need to hear this presentation? Whatever the answer to that question is should be added to the title. For instance, if your title is “Project Update,” and you followed tip #1 and made it more specific, you might end up with, “Smith Building Construction Project Update.” Now go one step farther. What is the actual result of the update? What conclusion do you want the audience to come to about the presentation? Now the title becomes, “Smith Building is Two Weeks behind Schedule, but Back on Track by the End of the Month.”
  26. Make Your Bullet Points Title Focused: Once you make you title audience focused, your bullet points are likely to change. If you title is just “Smith Building Project Update,” then you’d likely have dozens of possible points that you could cover from personnel, schedule, budget, project map, client meetings, community outreach, etc. However, if the title is about how the project is behind schedule and our plan to get back on schedule, you’ll likely spend point one one what happened to get us off track (and tell a few stories about it) and points two and three will likely be a few things that we will do to get back on track with examples of each.
  27. Add More Stories: I know that I gave this tip earlier, but stories are your Ace-in-the-Hole in presentations. The more that you have, the better your presentation will be, and the more that your audience will like you. I often here statements from class members like, “But, presenters in my company don’t tell stories.” I always respond with, “We’ll, I can pretty much bet that meetings and speeches within your company really stink, then.” And then almost always agree. So after you have your skeleton of the presentation designed with a topic, a few key bullet points, and a story to prove each bullet point, go back and add a few more stories as proof. Below are a few ways to do this.
  28. A Few Ways to Use Stories to Reduce Nervousness and Add Impact

  29. Add a Moral or an Action: Your examples are great ways to teach the audience or persuade them, so when you finish your stories, add a moral or an action to the end such as, “so, what I want you to get from this is…” When we tell people to do something or give advice, human nature is to play Devil’s Advocate, but when you tell a story first, they are more likely to agree. Try it around the office. Instead of giving advice right away, start with a story about the advice first and see if you get better results.
  30. Use Success Stories as Proof: Your successes are solid proof that your advice is sound, so anytime you offer advice or a suggested plan of action, always try to use a personal example as your proof that your advice is valid. If you haven’t had personal success with the new idea, find some other group or person who has and use their success story as proof.
  31. Learn from Mistakes: When you or your team has challenges, tell the story about the challenge or mistake, and then add the moral at the end to show how you learned from it. A lot of times, this can add some self-deprecating humor as well.
  32. Give Contrasting Examples: A good way to use examples and stories is with a “good” example and a “bad” example. For instance, if you are giving a suggestion or advice in your presentation, give one example of a time when you are someone else didn’t take the advice and the results were less than adequate and a second example when we used the advice and had a success.
  33. A Few Ways to Use Audience Participation to Add Impact

  34. Add Audience Participation: Audience participation is a fantastic way to breakup the presentation and add energy and attentiveness to a presentation. The old adage is that “People will support a world that they help create,” so when your audience helps deliver your presentation, they will enjoy the presentation more and retain the information longer.
  35. Avoid Rhetorical Questions: Never ask the audience a question that you don’t expect them to answer. Rhetorical questions aren’t interactive and have the potential to be annoying or even manipulative, so really avoid these types of questions.
  36. Be Careful with Yes/No Questions: Questions where some people will answer “Yes” and some will answer “No” will divide the audience, so only use them if a division is what you want. For instance, “How many of you have been sexually harassed at some time in your career?” will likely cause a negative division that you’d rather avoid, but “How many of you made President’s Club this year?” might give you a positive result. Just be careful dividing your audience.
  37. Avoid Single Answer Questions: questions with only a single correct answer have only two possible results. Either one single person will answer the question correctly for one single success, or no one will answer the question and the entire audience will feel stupid. If there is only one answer, avoid the question and just tell the audience the answer.
  38. Ask Open Ended, Opinion Based Questions: The best types of questions are open-ended and “opinion based” meaning that anyone with an opinion can, and most likely will, be correct. So a whole group of audience members are now the heroes of the room. The best way to do this is to make sure that your bullet points have gone to that “next level” where the result to the audience is added and just ask it instead of telling it. “So we are two weeks behind schedule on the Smith building. What kind of things can we do to get back on track by the end of the month?”
  39. Think/Write/Share: If your audience more introverted or less likely to interact, use Think/Write/Share. “Think about all of the possible ways that we can get back on track on the Smith project…” “If you would, write down two or three of your best ideas.” Then wait for everyone to write down at least one thing. “Tell me what you wrote down, and I’ll write them on the whiteboard.” You’ll get a lot more participation this way.
  40. Use Sticky Notes to Get Input: if you have one or two overly vocal audience members who tend to overpower all other opinions, then try having everyone write their ideas on individual Sticky Notes instead. Collect all of the notes and read them out to the group and organize them into piles of similar ideas. That way, you can see where the real consensus is in the group without it becoming a popularity contest.
  41. Practice with a Partner: Another way to get a group to participate is to ask them to tell their best idea to a partner sitting next to them. Then have the partners volunteer to tell the group a single idea that their partner shared that was particularly good.
  42. Have a Contest: Divide the audience into small groups and have a contest of some kind. This could be a test to see what they remember from the speeches from previous presenters or it could be a contest to see who can come up with the most creative solution to a challenge or problem that you are experiencing. Get creative, because people learn more when they are having fun.
  43. Other Ways to Add Impact to Presentation

  44. Analogies: Analogies are a fantastic way to make complicated information easier to understand and make your presentations more fun as well. An analogy is basically just a comparison where we are saying that something (complicated information) is just like (something less complicated). Or instance, a financial planner trying to explain early retirement planning might compare planning your retirement to planting an orchard. If you only plant one tree and wait only one year, you aren’t going to get a great crop. But if you plant a dozen trees of different types of fruit and let them grow for ten years while nourishing them along the way, you’ll end up with a bountiful harvest.
  45. Anecdotes Add Fun and Humor: They called Ronald Reagan The Great Communicator because he had an anecdote for everything. These are short, often funny, stories kind of like parables, that are used to teach a point and add levity. A good place to find these are at the end of articles in Reader’s Digest. Motivational speakers use this technique quite often.
  46. Demonstrations: Demonstrations help audience members better understand processes and products by showing them in action. This technique is common at trade shows and fairs or exhibits. (It is also the most common selling technique on infomercials.) if you are explaining a step-by-step process or have a product that is impressive to the audience, then a demonstration might be a great addition to your presentation.
  47. Offer a Sample: Give the audience something they can see, touch, feel, or experience. If you are talking about a product, bring one to pass around. If your topic is less tangible, give an example. For instance, when we teach public speaking skills classes and we introduce how powerful stories can be, we give an example of a dry presentation without stories, and then we go back and add the stories in and show the audience the difference. Give a sample to reinforce your point.
  48. Quote from an Expert: When you quote an expert, you are temporarily borrowing their expertise and credibility. Quotes should be short and by someone the audience will recognize, but when used properly, they can help the speaker have even more credibility.
  49. Name Drop: if you don’t have a formal quote, but you know multiple famous people (or companies) agree with you or follow your advice, then you can name drop them. For instance, “405 of the Fortune 500 companies have sent people to Fearless Presentations including Microsoft, Apple, ExxonMobil, PricewaterhouseCoopers, Deloitte, and more.”
  50. Add Showmanship: Remember that in addition to informing and persuading the audience, as a speaker, we also have an obligation to entertain the audience. If you can WOW! The audience, you will be memorable. So do something different than what everyone else does. Below are a few ways to add showmanship.
  51. A Few Ways to Add Showmanship

  52. Use Posters Instead of Pictures: Adding a picture, or multiple pictures, to a PowerPoint slide can be effective in a pinch. However, you can go to printing stores and get a picture blown up into a poster that you can set on a tripod, and the poster will be much more memorable. Think of a trade show. The exhibits that have the big posters are more eye-catching and attention getting.
  53. Add Some Magic: Quick and easy magic tricks can add some fun and energy to a presentation if it is appropriate. Since our instructors teach seminars and training classes, a quick magic trick used as an analogy to something that we are teaching can be really fun and memorable. Doing a card trick in a boardroom presentation may not work as well, though.
  54. Teach The Audience Something that will Surprise Them: When we teach team building activities, we often start will a memory trick that helps the audience improve their memory very quickly. It is a simple technique that anyone can learn, so it is very impressive to most audiences. When I was in school, a speaker showed us how to read faster by having us read a section from a book in our normal way for 60 seconds. then, he had us read again but this time pointing to the words in the book with our left hand as we read. The second time that we read, we gained as many as a couple of dozen extra lines of reading. It was really cool. Try it yourself.
  55. Props can Add Showmanship: When legislators were trying to get people upset about the healthcare legislation in 2009, they just printed out the thousands of documents that made up the bill. The piles and piles of unreadable pages was pretty overwhelming and made a valid point. When I was starting out teaching leadership classes, I found a toy that was a tiny shipping box that, when I pushed a button, shook and said, “Let me out of here!” I used it as a prop when I talked about self-confidence saying, “we all have that confident person inside of us who is struggling to get out and be seen.”
  56. A Good Leave-Behind can Add Showmanship: A handout, book, or other type of reference item can make you more memorable. When we teach our leadership classes, we have a business card holder with a series of leadership principle cards in them that we give to every participant as a way to reinforce the important principles from the course.

  57. We jammed a lot of content into this tip page, so come back often to renew your focus. Remember that the Fearless Presentations ® class helps participants implement every one of these 101 principles! Our self-help books give these tips and more in greater detail.


    Organizing the Presentation

  58. Add at Least One “Impact Idea” to Each Point: so, now go back to your skeleton outline that you created earlier and add at least one additional technique from the last ten or so ideas above. Add a question, analogy, quote, etc. to each of your original points. Give your presentation some meat.
  59. Take a Break: If you have too much content to fit into five or fewer key points, consider taking a break in the middle to make the presentation more digestible.
  60. Use Your “Impact Ideas” to Alter Time: If you are short on time, it is easy to shorten or cut a story or analogy, and if you are zooming through the presentation, just give more details in your stories, etc. or add an audience participation. This will allow you to hit exact time limits.
  61. What If You have to Give a 10 Point or 20 Point Presentation? Obviously, if you absolutely have to give a content heavy presentation, you can, but manage your expectations. Your audience isn’t likely to retain a lot of the content. A follow up handout or other takeaway will be helpful.
  62. PowerPoint Tips

  63. Design Your Presentation First, then Add Visual Aids: most presenters start with their PowerPoint slides how, and then try to come up with words to explain the bullet points that they have written. Instead, start with the presentation, and the look for visual aids that will help you explain your points.
  64. Use Fewer Slides: A good way to do this is to practice your presentation a few times without any visual aids first and get good at your delivery. Then go back and add only the visual aids that help you explain your points better.
  65. Less is More: The fewer slides that you have and the less content that you have an each slide, the more impact that your words will have.
  66. 6 X 6: A good rule is to have no more than six words on each line and no more than six lines on each PowerPoint slide. This way, everyone in the room should be able to easily read your slide content.
  67. Avoid Overuse of Animation: Spinning bullet points with sound effects are just a distraction, so avoid frivolous animation.
  68. Use Appropriate Animation to Clarify Your Points: Use animation that adds showmanship and clarifies your points. I had a client that had their animation team create a 3D animation of the terrain where they would be building an addition to an Army base that showed everything from the black tops being poured to the final buildings rising on the horizon to the military tanks being rolled into the gates. It was a very impressive piece of proof that the company understood the project.
  69. Charts and Graphs are for Handouts, not PowerPoint Slide Decks: Charts and graphs are very hard to read and follow on a slide, so make a handout or put them on a big board instead.
  70. Pictures for Decoration: If you use a picture (or pictures) for decoration, make the decoration the same on every slide and make it subtle. A single picture in a corner of the slide is usually enough. If you decorative picture changes, your audience will wonder what it has to do with the content of your slide.
  71. Pictures for Clarity: If a picture help adds clarity to your bullet point, then add it in, but if it is just being used to make the slide prettier, leave it out.
  72. Consider Boards Instead of Slides: Instead of putting a picture or chart on a slide, consider getting a board or poster made instead.
  73. PowerPoint Slide Colors: A dark background with light text is most eye appealing.
  74. Use Simple Fonts: Time New Roman or Arial are good choices for PowerPoint fonts.
  75. Use Bullet Points: Although result oriented, well developed bullet point are important when you design and organize your presentation, you might want to use shorter bulletins in your visual aid.
  76. Reveal Your Bullets One at a Time: Reveal bullets one at a time to make sure no one reads ahead.
  77. Point to Bullets when You Reference Them: Move toward the screen and point to your bullets as you read them. This lets the audience knows that you are covering something new and adds energy.
  78. Stand Up When You Speak: The person who Stan’s and speaks carries authority. You will also have more energy.
  79. Practice with Your Slides: After you have practiced without the slides and gotten good at your delivery, add the slides back in an practice in front of a group of people.
  80. Avoid “Read… Click…”: if you design and practice your presentation based on these tips, you will never do this, but if you find yourself just reading and clicking, STOP! You are boring your audience.
  81. Design Your Own Slideshow: This tip is so important. If someone else designs your PowerPoint slide deck for you, it will increase the complexity ten-fold.

  82. We jammed a lot of content into this tip page, so come back often to renew your focus. Remember that the Fearless Presentations ® class helps participants implement every one of these 101 principles! Our self-help books give these tips and more in greater detail.


    Places to Practice

  83. Social Clubs: Rotary Clubs, Kiwanis, the Jaycees, Lions Clubs, etc. are great places to practice delivering speeches. Most of these organizations a weekly meeting that require a guest speaker, so there are 52 opportunities every year for a slot.
  84. Chambers of Commerce: Chambers often have committees where officers lead meetings and give presentations, so run for office. PS, most people avoid positions like this because they don’t want to have to speak in front of their peers.
  85. Libraries and City Recreation Centers: City offices often have scheduled seminars and workshops that are really easy to get a speaking engagement in as long as the topic is marketable to them and you will work cheap.
  86. Lunch-N-Learns: If you are a salesperson and want to speak to employees at a certain client, you can buy them lunch and offer to teach them something about your industry.
  87. Teleseminars or Webinars: Just by promoting a free (or paid) Teleseminars on your website, you can often get a nice following of people who will be happy to gain a little of your expertise.
  88. Association Meetings in Your Industry: No matter what industry you belong to, chances are that there are one or more associations for companies like yours. Join one or more of these associations and look for meetings or events where you can speak and become an influential member of your industry.
  89. Association Meetings in Client Industries: If you sell to specific industries, make sure and become a part of their associations and attend their trade shows and meetings. By speaking within these groups, you will be seen as a go-to person/company for their industry.
  90. Trade Shows: If you attend trade shows and purchase booth space, consider purchasing the booth space adjacent to you and fill it with folding chairs. Then conduct a short seminar every half hour or so on topics related to the needs of the attendees.
  91. Marketing Seminars by Reservation: In-person marketing seminars can be a great way to get in front of a lot of potential audience members. Financial planners will often offer free retirement seminars, because they know that anyone who attends will likely be a good potential client.
  92. Paid Seminars: Seminars that individuals can attend by paying a fee to you can be a great way to promote yourself, because you are gaining income for your efforts. When individuals pay a fee to attend a seminar, they are much more likely to show up as well.
  93. Paid Consulting Meetings: You can also charge individuals or groups to attend consulting or coaching sessions with you. This is a nice way to help customers implement your products/services without losing money. The meetings can be in-person, online, or by teleconference, so you have a lot of flexibility.
  94. Radio and TV Shows: Although there is still a great opportunity to speak on traditional TV and radio programs, the Internet has opened a lot of doors for additional speakers. Internet radio is big and getting bigger all the time, and many hosts are looking for interesting people to interview.
  95. YouTube: YouTube and other online video services are great way to make a single presentation get replicated over and over again. Make short, two to three minute information videos teaching something about your industry and post them on YouTube. Post them once every week or so.
  96. Podcast Your Videos: As you add more videos to your library, offer them as Podcasts (just Google “podcast” for a list of them) so that you can attract a group of “followers” who get access to your videos every time you post one.
  97. Joint Venture Seminars: Partner up with other people or companies who are in the same market but who don’t compete for clients or customers. For instance, if you build websites, partner with a social media expert, a graphic designer, and a video person and teach people how to build killer websites.
  98. Team Sales Presentations

  99. Prepare Your Team Ahead of Time: for many high-level sales presentations, purchasers want to hear from team members who they will be working with on the project. Please don’t let the first time that these folks speak in front of a group be when you have a big contract on the line. Get your team professional presentation training well in advance of the presentation.
  100. Talk About THEM, Not You: many presenters mistakenly cover a lot of detail about how great they (the presenters) are, how much experience they have, and how they are the best thing since sliced bread. The audience really doesn’t care much about this stuff. They have a problem that they want you to solve. Show them how you can help solve their problem, and they will like you.
  101. Show the Client that You are a Team: Edify each other when you introduce the next speaker. Build the next person up by sharing his/her expertise with the audience. Get the entire team involved in the presentation.
  102. Use Showmanship: we covered this as one of the impact ideas above, but showmanship is vital to big sales presentations. You and your team have to be memorable and different. Before every presentation, come up with something new and different that you know others wont do.
  103. Question and Answer Sessions

  104. Questions for Clarity: The easiest questions are those asked for clarity. The questioner is confused or curious and is looking for a simple answer. In these situations, just answer the question quickly and add an example if you need to.
  105. Questions to Test You: Sometimes, audience members may ask aggressive questions to try to test you or throw you off to see how you handle it. A great way to answer these types of questions is with an example or story related to the question. Then, after you finish the quick story, give the advice or solution.
  106. Set a Time Limit: Set a time limit for questions and keep it short. Two to five minutes is standard, but some presentations require 15 minutes. Regardless, set a time limit and keep to it.
  107. Ask the First Question if Needed: Audiences are often hesitant to ask the first question, so you might need to prime the pump. “A question that I’m often asked is…” Often works pretty well.
  108. When Time Expires, End It: if you can have a few more question askers waiting when you end the session, it can work really well. Just say, “I’m out of time, but for those of you who we weren’t able to get to, I will be in the back of the room as you leave.” This will create a crowd of energy around you after the presentation.
  109. The Seven Deadly Sins of Presenting

    (We know… This puts us at 103 tips versus 101, but we like to over-achieve.)

  110. Thou Shan’t Not Go Overtime without Consent
  111. To “uh” is Human, but Too Many is Annoying
  112. Thou Shall Not Speak Monotonally
  113. Thou Shall Not Use Shop-Talk
  114. Thou Shall Not Speak Whilst the Audience Readests Thy Slide
  115. Thou Shan’t Not Read Endless Excerpts to Thine Audience
  116. Thou Shan’t Not Dump Endless Data Upon Thine Audience

The good news is that if you follow the prior tips, you will never violate any of these deadly sins!


We jammed a lot of content into this tip page, so come back often to renew your focus. Remember that the Fearless Presentations ® class helps participants implement every one of these 101 principles! Our self-help books give these tips and more in greater detail.



Author: Doug Staneart, Date Published: 12/26/12

Doug Staneart is the CEO of The Leader's Institute. LLC and founder of the Fearless Presentations class. He is author of Fearless Presentations, Mastering Presentations, and 28 Ways to Influence People.

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You Can Eliminate Public Speaking Fear

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