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Tips for Presenting and Public Speaking

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Presentations can be a great way to attract new business, simply by making yourself more well-known. However, nerves can often get in the way of entrepreneurs who want to use speaking opportunities to develop their business. Follow these steps to overcome nerves and make a powerful presentation during your public speaking engagement...


In order to conduct a proper presentation, you must prepare well in advance. The more familiar you are with the material being presented, the more at ease you will be when speaking publicly about it. In order to be an effective public speaker, it is very important that you know the material you are speaking about. Preparation goes a long way toward building confidence and calming nerves.

Know Your Audience

Perhaps one of the most overlooked aspects of public speaking, yet one of the most important to a good presentation, is that the speaker have a clear understanding of who their audience is, and what material they wish to receive. The presentation should be relevant to the audience, and should be presented using a language and terminology they will understand.

Be Understandable

Project your voice, and speak at a volume level that is easy to hear. Test the microphone, and make sure that everyone can hear before beginning. If you are presenting to an International audience, be sure to speak slowly, and articulate your words. Use terminology and phrases that will be easily understood by all. If a subject requires complex terminology, be sure to define any difficult words.


Bring the audience into the presentation by asking open-ended questions. The topic material should be interesting, and should be presented in such a way that the audience will be engaged in the discussion or material. Consider spicing up the presentation with humor. Use personal stories to engage listeners.


The visual presentation should not be lacking. Visual aids should reinforce key elements of a speech or presentation. The imagery should be used to help drive the important points home. If you are using a PowerPoint presentation, do not make the slides too wordy. Instead, simply highlight key points visually, and use the presentation itself to elaborate. Use line graphics to show trends, and bar graphs for comparisons. Do not simply read the text from the slides word-for-word -- use the slides as bullet points that your presentation can then elaborate on.

Consider using PowerPoint Templates to make a professional appearing presentation


Speak with emotion in your voice. Use vocal inflections to emphasize important points. A monotone vocal delivery tends to be extremely boring, and will put your audience to sleep very quickly.

Note Cards

Use note cards only as prompts. During your presentation, you should not read from your note cards. Look at the audience and make eye contact while presenting.


If you are moving from one subject to another, be sure to make a smooth transition from the subject material so that the presentation flows smoothly.


Practice makes perfect! It is unrealistic to think that you can perform better without practicing your presentation.

Avoid Plugs

Conference attendees typically do not like to be sold to during a presentation. Use your presentation to educate the audience about a specific subject, and do not use the presentation as a way to sell or advertise your product or service.


Always close the presentation with a summary of the items that you discussed.

Keep in mind that the best presentations are often relevant, animated, engaging, and humorous.

About the Author:

Sharon Housley manages marketing for FeedForAll software for creating, editing, publishing RSS feeds and podcasts. In addition Sharon manages marketing for RecordForAll audio recording and editing software.

Published - September 2009

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