How to give an awesome presentation

Mark Robinson Seats2meet Strijp-S

Gastblog van Mark Robinson, author Speak Inspire Empower.

What makes a great presentation? Why, in contrast, are so many business presentations so boring? And how can you ensure your next presentation is clear, captivating and persuasive? By the time you’ve finished this short article, your presentation skills will already be way ahead of your peers – if you put what you learn into practice.

I’m probably the last person on Earth

who you’d expect to write an article on public speaking, let alone a whole book: I’m an introverted IT guy whose first presentation, at school, was a total disaster. In front of my whole class I spent two nervous minutes shaking and going completely white while speaking on my chosen subject: the Lockheed Blackbird aircraft. I hated every moment of that presentation and thought I’d never be able to speak in public.

Then something happened that completely changed my life.

I joined Remco Claassen’s “Verbal Mastery” workshop. There I realised that public speaking is a skill that anyone can learn. There are just a few techniques which, if you put them into practice, will enable you to give speeches in which people are hanging on your every word.

And not only speeches: many of these techniques work for written articles and even books. I’ve used a couple in this article – have you spotted them?

After learning these techniques, I practiced them for many years.

At the same time, I saw my colleagues struggle through their presentations, often resorting to reading PowerPoint slides to their audience. Yes, even really smart managers and engineers that I’m proud to call my colleagues read slides aloud to their equally smart audience. It’s like what happens at my daughter’s primary school: there they also have a “voorlees feest” (reading aloud party)!

I wanted to show how absurd this practice is – that there really is a better way. But how?

Then one day I had an idea: I gave a famous talk from the 20th century in the PowerPoint format. This proved such a hit when I first delivered it at ASML that I went on to give it at TEDxEindhoven.

A Book!

And now, after training 500 people from all backgrounds on public speaking over four years, I’ve put all my techniques into my book: Speak Inspire Empower: How To Give Persuasive Presentations To Boost Your Confidence And Career.

So, what were those two techniques I promised you? Have you spotted them? I’m using one of them three times in this paragraph – is that a clear enough clue?

The first technique is questions.

Question marks are shaped like a hook which is very appropriate because they hook into your listeners’ (or readers’) brains and draw their attention to you! Next time you stand in front of a group, try asking and answering questions in your presentation.

There are three types of questions you can use – watch my TEDx talk, “How to present to keep your audience’s attention”, to see them all. So what’s the second technique? (See what I did there?)

The second technique started right in the second paragraph.

It’s one that everyone loves but presenters all too often neglect. But if you use it, your presentations will become more memorable and enjoyable for your listeners. I’m talking about storytelling. People love stories: ask any parent with young children at bedtime! Again, if you want to know how to incorporate them, watch my TEDx talk.

These are just two topics. But what about starting your presentation? Or ending it? How should you structure your presentation? What about body language? How can you cope with nerves? And how can you deliver a persuasive talk?

For these tips and many more, order my book today!

Mark Robinson geeft al meer dan 20 jaar presentaties als onderdeel van zijn werk als softwareconsultant. Hoewel hij naar eigen zeggen geen natuurlijke presentator is, heeft hij goed leren presenteren van uitstekende presentatoren als Remco Claassen en zijn eigen vrouw en collega trainer Annelies. Hij is de auteur van Speak Inspire Empower.

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