What are Effective Presentation Skills?

Effective Presentation Skills

Have your presentation skills ever let you down in the past?

Have you ever avoided giving a presentation at work?

Might you be more successful at work if you were a better and more effective presenter?

The good news is that Effective Presentation Skills can be developed by almost anyone with the right training.

But what are Effective Presentation Skills? And how do you develop them?

Just be yourself?

Great presenters often look as if they are “naturals” and relaxed when presenting.

So does that mean you “just need to relax and be yourself” the next time you are getting ready to present at work?  Or can this often be somewhat misguided advice?

The reality is that most people are already ”just being themselves” when they present.

And the sad fact for some, (especially those that have not had any training) is that they are also so far outside of their comfort zones they appear to their audience as ”unnatural” as a duck out of water!

So unless you’re already a good communicator – think first about developing your presentation skills rather than just trying to relax and be yourself.

You can develop the skills to present effectively

And with the right training and coaching, you really can develop the skills and confidence needed to deliver an effective presentation.

By building on what already works well with your personality; developing new skills and an increased confidence; and of course, removing the bad old “natural” habits that messed up your presentations in the past, you can be well on your way to looking like a ”natural” when you present.

And as a result, start to realise your potential and present effectively.

So what skills makes an effective presentation?

Here’s a list of just some of the key things that make an effective presentation …

What the presenter has to say …

  • is well researched
  • has a good structure
  • is clear, concise and easily understood
  • is pitched at the right level for the audience
  • uses visual aids wisely

How the presenter delivers it …

  • creates an immediate and positive impression
  • engages well with the audience
  • speaks clearly, confidently and with conviction
  • Deals effectively with questions
  • comes across as a relaxed and “natural” presenter

The impact on the audience …

  • They feel the experience worth while
  • They believe in what is being said
  • They want to respond positively
  • The presentation is remembered and acted on afterwards

What other effective presentation skills would you suggest?

You’ve probably witnessed many presentations at work.  Some good, some probably bad!

What did you like about the good ones?  What made them memorable?

Let’s know your experiences below:-

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15 Responses to “What are Effective Presentation Skills?”

  • Wendy Wong:

    You should make the audience pay enough attention to your words and be confident but not arrogant. Always around you emphasis,Lay heavy stress on some key word.

  • Barry Mapp:

    Agree with all your points and that almost anyone can become an effective presenter with the right training and coaching. Nerves happen primarily when people don’t (or feel they don’t) have the necessary (learnt) skills.

    Barry Mapp The Innovation Coach

  • Mel Menzies:

    I always like to be prepared to interact with my audience. If you make eye contact with them, they’re quite likely to do or say something which allows you to ad lib. In my experience, people like it if they feel you’ve homed in on them and are in touch.

    Mel Menzies, author of A Painful Post Mortem

  • Wolf Schumacher:

    I am doing quite a few presentations over the web (webinars). One issue there is that the audience mostly only listens and doesn’t talk due to the passive media. That way I sometimes have problems to connect well with the participants and the results are not optimal. Sometimes I also find that there is an overwhelming positive response and don’t know the reason for it. Do you have any good advice for this type of presentation?

    By the way: I love your site and tweets!

    Best regards,
    Sydney, Australia

  • Cynthia Schuerr:

    I love this site. Your words of wisdom make so much sense. I want to say, “Why didn’t I think of that?” We not only need to learn them, but must, also, be reminded of them from time to time.

    So, please, stay with us, we need you.


  • Cathy Thomas:

    I was always told that when giving a presentation
    1. you should tell them what you are going to tell them
    2. tell them
    3. then tell them what you have just told them
    dont remember where this came from but think it is a good guideline.

  • Kathi Browne:

    Since so many great tips have been addressed, I would like to mention some negatives that ruin my experience as a listener…

    - Stuttering a word to stall without saying “uh”
    - Over-emphasizing words and pausing too much (as if I’m too stupid to follow a normal speed/inflexion)
    - not addressing a key item on a slide
    - requesting audience to stand up and physically interact with strangers

  • Ken:

    The above pretty much sums up what we train people to do on our courses! If speakers concentrated on your list above then their audience can settle down to listen. Wholeheartedly agree with Mel about eye-contact and interaction but you can overdo it as Kathy suggests. It was Sophocles (the great Greek orator) who I believe first suggested the “tell them what you’re going to tell them, tell them, tell them what you told them” structure.

    One of the points we always make is that Presenting is about “Distraction Management” – it doesn’t matter how good you are, if your flies are undone (or your skirt is tucked in your knickers) it’s doubtful people will really be listening! And there’s so much that can distract an audience:

    – wondering, “whats’ in this for me?”
    – their blackberry
    – a cold/hot room
    – typos on your slides
    – a scruffy or wonky screen
    – when the next comfort/coffee/fag break is coming
    – outside noise etc. etc.

    I would add that you need to make sure you finish within your allotted time – and at a conference (unless you’re first on) that invariably means speaking for less time than you were asked to? You must rehearse, rehearse, and rehearse so that you absolutely know how long your presentation is going to take! AUdiences love it if you finish on time and conference organisers love you if you can keep their conference running to schedule.

  • Hitha Reddy:

    Thanku for the information and all the responses provided these help us a lot.

  • Bobby:

    Hi there,

    I have never been attend any presentation, so i am confuse about it. What ever i have good english skill but no idea how to represent our self, our job, our products & how to show to audiance our good skill & they will memorize my presentation effects. So, I am going to prepare myself confidently first & after that i will give my presentation. Today i read these point keys to get best presentation & i got some good & effective points. I hope i will be successful in my first presentation.


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