How to Give an Effective Presentation

man in beige blazer holding tablet computer

In the next 10 minutes, do you want to learn to give an effective presentation?

It is okay if English is your second language. Presentation is not about your vocabulary or grammar. It’s about how you connect yourself with the audience.

You need to show passion for the topic and understand the audience’s needs.

I am going to give you step-by-step tips on what you can do to make your presentation a memorable one.

Tip 1: Use Questions not Bullets

While drafting your presentation, do not write the bullets. Instead, jot down the questions that you want to answer in your presentation. For example, if you are giving a beginner presentation on cryptocurrency, then try to answer questions like – what cryptocurrency is, how it works, how much are top cryptocurrencies worth today, and so on.

You don’t have to say the questions in your presentation but use them as a cue for your content.

Tip 2: Focus on the Present to Overcome Fear

Most people get anxious before stage presentations. The reason is that we focus on the outcome of the presentation and not on the present. We start thinking about whether people will like my presentation, will they appreciate it.

Do not try to be perfect. Instead, focus on delivering your content in the best possible way.

Tip 3: Exercise before the Presentation

I am not asking you to go to the gym and get sweaty. All I mean is stretch your arms, shout out loud if you can or take deep breaths. If you want to go further, then you may even do 3-4 push-ups.

All this will make you active and give you energy before you go on the stage.

Still don’t trust me on this? Watch Tony Robbins jumping before entering the stage in this mind-changing documentary on Netflix.

Tip 4: Conversational Tone

Keep your tone conversational. Engage your audience. You may even start your presentation by asking a question. It could be a rhetorical question or something where you can ask the audience to raise their hands. The goal of asking a question could be to extract some information from the audience or just to break the ice.

If possible, in the middle of your presentation, engage your audience in some fun activity. This way they will not lose interest in the presentation.

Make eye contact with them. This will make them feel as if you are having a one-to-one conversation with them.

Tip 5: Listen; do not Anticipate

If someone is asking a question, we try to anticipate the question without listening to it completely. It is very important that you listen and understand what the audience is asking. Note that I mentioned listening and understanding separately. Sometimes you only listen without understanding which could be a problem.

It is better to paraphrase the question. This can serve two purposes. First, it will ensure that you understood the question correctly. Second, you will get some time to think and prepare your response.

Tip 6: Never lose your audience

The worst thing you can do is to lose your audience. Set clear expectations on the topic that you will be covering and the total time you are planning to speak. This way audience would know what to expect from your presentation and will stay focused.

Tip 7: Follow a Structure

Decide the structure that you want to use for your presentation. You can use either of the following two approaches.

Problem – Solution – Benefit

Start with the problem. Then explain the solution, followed by the benefits for the audience.

What – So What – Now What

What are you going to speak about? After you mentioned that, explain what it means to the audience. Followed by what action the audience can take now.

These approaches can be used not only for your presentations but also for any communication in your daily life, including job interviews. Most of the big companies evaluate candidates based on the STAR approach during the interviews.

You can read about the STAR approach and interview tips here


This is also tip # 8. Always, end your presentation with a conclusion. This should include key points from your presentation and should mention the next steps that the audience can take.

Following is the conclusion for this post.

Becoming an effective stage presenter is a skill that anyone can learn and practice. Make a strong connection with the audience, keep smiling, use your voice effectively and engage your audience. Have a clear structure for your presentation and keep a track of time.

Be prepared for impromptu questions. Use paraphrasing to get some time while answering the questions.

What is your favorite tip? Are you planning to give a presentation in the near future?

Disclaimer: The content of this blog was inspired by the famous Stanford presentation in the video above.

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