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Polish Your Presentation Skills: Tell Me A Story

Spkrstndng1Presentation skills are more important than ever these days. Whether it's with customers, prospects or coworkers the quality of your presentation skills is important. Want to improve your sales? Improve your presentation skills. Be remarkably good. So good that customers will invite others to join them just to hear your presentation. Is that possible? Sure it is but it requires a common sense approach to the oft published wisdom surrounding presentations. A focus on the tools has caused us to lose perspective on what makes a good presentation. Presentations become a PowerPoint slide deck with narration.

Recently I've come across some real wisdom from a blogging presentation coach. From a recent post:

Audiences really want to like you as a speaker. It makes them feel better about being there in the first place and more forgiving of any stumbles you may make.

Help them like you by not talking at an audience. Have a conversation with them instead.

Your message comes across more effectively when you use words, rhythms and anecdotes that come authentically (or, at least, appear to come authentically) from you and your own experiences, not those of someone else.

Your tone of voice, your mannerisms, the very words you use can convey a sense that your audience is important to you and that you appreciate their time and effort to hear what you have to say.

I have been known to stop presenters who are simply reading their notes and slides to the audience. I simply ask the speaker to talk to us. Tell us in stories what it is they want us to remember. Most often this is the best route to communicating the information they are trying to convey. Save the charts and graphs for the data-hungry handout readers and tell us a story that explains what's happening.

I think you'd be well served by bookmarking/subscribing to Scott Rayburn's blog Presentation Coach

February 24, 2005 in award winning newsletter, blog publish, Building Customer Community, Business newsletter, Weblogs | Permalink


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You couldn't be more right. The number of presenters who try and get PowerPoint to do the work for them is simply frightening. My guess is that this comes from fear of speaking and so they try and hide behind the software.

Our training courses concentrate on the presenter; powerpoint is just another tool, like the microphone, the lecturn, the car that gets them there, the glass that holds the water... the....

You get the idea! :)

Posted by: Simon Raybould | Jun 17, 2006 12:09:29 PM