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A presentation is a formal talk given to one or more people who ‘present’ ideas or information in a clear, structured way. Presentations can be daunting, but if you follow a few simple rules, giving a presentation can be straightforward.

All presentations have a common objective. People give presentations because they want to communicate to:

· Inform

· Train

· Persuade

· Sell

A successful presentation is one of the most effective ways of communicating your message. And because English is the most common international business language, working knowledge of the vocabulary and techniques used in an English presentation are valuable assets.

Here are some of the important things to think about when giving any presentation:


“Why am I making this presentation? Do you need to inform, persuade, train or sell?”

Your objective should be clearly defined in your mind. If it is not, it cannot be transparent for your audience.


“Who am I presenting to?”

Sometimes this will be obvious, but not always. Always ask yourself of the following:

  • How many people will be present?

  • Who are they? Are they entrepreneurs, professionals in their respective fields, politicians, freelancers, etc.?

  • And will it be a small group of 4 colleagues or a large gathering of 400 competitors?

  • How much do they know already and what do they expect from you?

  • Understand your audience and identify WHY they need you/the product/service and, understand and appeal to these needs.


With flawless preparation and planning, you will be confident, and your nerves will not get the better of you. This self-assurance radiates towards your audience and as a result, they trust you. This will give you control. And with control, you will be in charge and your audience will listen attentively to your message.


First impressions are everything, especially in the corporate world. Upon organising your presentation, the venue needs to be arranged. Make sure you have the answers to the following questions:

  • Where am I making this presentation?

  • In a small hotel meeting room or a large conference hall?

  • What facilities and equipment are available?

  • What are the seating arrangements?


Never be short of punctual and remember, boredom is a silent killer! Ensure you are not wasting your attendee’s valuable time and you make effective use of every second of their time they have given you. Make sure to arrange your presentation so it’s productive, efficient, proactive and straight to the point.


The opportunities which one can present are endless! What is it that will set you apart from all the other presentations your attendees have and/or will see? Have a clear understanding of this by asking yourself the following:

  • How should I make this presentation?

  • Should it be formal or informal?

  • Lots of visual aids or only a few?

  • Will I include some anecdotes and humour for variety?

Give your presentation an unforgettable “personality,” however you may feel is suitable for the occasion.


Brainstorm idea’s so your message is clear and concise. You may discover many ideas you want to include in your presentation, but you must be selective. Only include information that is relevant to your audience and your objective. You should exclude all unnecessary ideas. It is also a great idea to create a title for your presentation (if you have not already). The title will also help draw in your audience.

When in doubt, remember the KISS principle, less is more!

You can always give additional information during the Q&A slot of the presentation.

KISS: Keep it simple, stupid! This is a principle from the 1960s that is based around the concept that systems are most productive when kept simple.


A well-organised presentation with a clear structure is easier for the audience to follow. You should organise the points you wish to make in a logical order. Most presentations are organised in three parts, followed by a Q&A slot:


· Introduce yourself and welcome your audience.

· Introduce your service/product/goal/idea/etc.

· Briefly explain the structure of your presentation.

· Explain the rules for questions (during Q&A slot).


· Work your magic and present.


· Conclude and summarise your presentation.

· Thank your audience.

Q&A slot:

· Now you can invite your audience to ask questions.

When you give your presentation, you should be – or appear to be – completely aware of what you are doing. Be as familiar with your subject and speech as you can be so that you don’t need to read your text. Reading from your notes will be conceived as unprofessional and ill-prepared.

So how can you remember everything you need to say? With notes! Such as A6 cards. Write down just the title of each section of your speech and/or use keywords to help you along the way.

These notes will give you poise, but because you will have prepared your presentation, you may not even need them. Rehearsal is a vital part of preparation. Leave yourself time to practice for your presentation at least two or three times. This will also help you:

· Become more familiar with what you want to say

· Weaknesses in your presentation

· Practice difficult pronunciations

· Check the time it takes to present and make the necessary modifications

Ask yourself these questions:

· Is it the right length?

· Are you completely familiar with all your illustrations?

· Are they in the right order?

· Do you know who your audience is?

· How many people?

· How will you answer tough questions?

· Do you know the room?

· Are you confident about the equipment?

When you have answered all these questions, you will be a confident, enthusiastic presenter ready to communicate the subject of your presentation to an eager audience.

Remember you may be nervous at the beginning of your presentation, this is normal. The answer is to pay special attention to the beginning of your presentation. First impressions count. One way to settle your nerves is to learn the introduction by heart, after a few moments you will relax and gain confidence.

Lastly, but perhaps most important, make eye contact with each of the people in the room. They should feel as if you are speaking directly to them. Look at each person in turn, in the most natural way possible. This will also give you the opportunity to detect signs of boredom, disinterest or even disagreement. Allowing you to modify your presentation as appropriate on the spot!

Good luck!

Writer: Jes Storm Editor: Cammie Reference:

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