Perhaps you have given a speech, sales presentation, or client training recently. Or maybe you have given a non-business presentation at a school meeting, a community event, or at your place of worship. If so,

Were you pleased with the result? 

  • Was the audience engaged and did they show it by their post-presentation feedback?
  • Did anyone approach you after your speech to share how your presentation impacted them?
  • Did the audience ask questions?
  • Did your presentation cause people to take action?
  • Were you invited to give other presentations as a result of your successful speech, presentation, or training?
  • If a business talk, did you get the business, close the sale, or influence additional conversation?


If you can unequivocally answer yes to all these questions, then congratulations on a job well done – you can stop reading this post now. If you aren’t sure you can answer yes to all of these questions, then read on.

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On the plane ride home, I was thinking about the presentation and evaluating it’s effectiveness. As I thought about it, several things came to mind that are important in giving a presentation whether you make your living doing it or not. Effective speaking is vital for everyone. It’s useful in many areas of our lives.

Below are some thoughts on what to do to give a great talk:

Before you speak, pause to prepare :

It is crucial that long before your presentation you take time to prepare. You really should:

  • Know your topic well.
  • Know your audience and their needs, fears, and victories. My speaking mentor and friend JOEL WELDON taught me that years ago. This means knowing what keeps them up at night.
  • Know the favorite radio station of your audience – WIIFM or What’s in it For Me?Think about how you can frame the message you are trying to convey around something important to them.
  • Know how you are going to land the plane. This means having a few ideas on how you are going to close your presentation in advance of your talk. A smooth take off and landing helps make your message memorable, invites the audience to be engaged and causes them to take action if that’s your goal.
  • Know what you will need in advance of your presentation. I highly recommended a checklist of all the things you’ll need to make your presentation effective (computer, computer cord, batteries, handouts, etc. If you are using a presentation program, have a backup of your presentation, a familiar clicker, and appropriate magic markers if you are using a flipchart.
  • Know the time frame and stay well within it. In fact, finish early. NO ONE ever was upset over a speech that ended earlier.
  • Know who your introducer is and take time to get to know them.


Proper preparation (and practice) prevent poor performance.

If you are going to go to the trouble of giving a presentation, take several pauses in the days preceding the presentation to make sure that you give it your best. Practice your speech a few times both by yourself and in front of others. Your audience will feel better as a result and you will give a better presentation.

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**************************************************************************Thank you, Denis Houlefor inviting me to speak. Also, a big thank you to Matthew Schuster and Susan Prior, CHC who heard me speak to a similar group a few years ago. I am glad to have made some new friends Brian Scalabrine – world champion former Boston Celtics player, award winning speaker – Tim Grubb, all-around fun guy and master of the pause – Jake Rahn, KC BBQ champion – Kevin McNeall, Gidget surfer girl – Denise Tobin, front row learner – Patrick J. McDonough, post office man – Paul Fitzpatrick, CRCP, circle of six lover – Sandra Berube,CRCR, and many others. I’d welcome feedback from you all.

This is Part 1 of a 3 part series.

#Pausitivity #LeadershipDevelopment #Presentationskills

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