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Getting your message across when presenting

By Richard White – Master Trainer: Think on Your Feet®, Writing Dynamics™ and Grammar on the Rocks™.

Most people are very nervous about public speaking and giving presentations. There are a number of ways to deal with nerves in our The Skilled Presenter™ workshop but we’re going to focus on the key confidence builder – being well prepared.

Questions from your audience!

The two main elements to preparing a presentation are planning it and improving your performance skills. Planning starts with identifying your audience and their most important questions about the topic. These questions will suggest your key points, forming the main structure of your presentation. Three key points usually works well.

Supporting information and arguments

You can then build on this structure with supporting information and arguments. Be careful not to overload your audience with detail – most people won’t remember it. People do remember good, brief examples and stories so bring your key points to life with them. You are now ready to add the opening and closing sections to introduce yourself and your topic, draw conclusions and ask for actions.

Pizazz. Your visuals.

Once you’ve organized the information you can design the visuals. Keep in mind that visuals are there to support you, not to compete with you. Make them simple, clear and relevant.


When all your materials are complete you must rehearse. Rehearsal should be a talk-through to ensure you can find the right words and then a full run-through to check the timing and that everything fits.

Your voice

Improving performance skills takes longer but the most important element is your voice. So, find someone whose speaking voice fits your style (TV presenters are a good source) and try to match your speed and variation of volume and pitch to theirs. Get a feel for speaking in that way. It is important to retain your personal authenticity so get feedback from other people to check that you still sound like you and not like you’re imitating someone else.

These guidelines should help you improve and enjoy your presentations. You can take it a lot further by attending our The Skilled Presenter™ workshop. Find out more

More about Richard White
Richard White is a certified master trainer in Writing Dynamics™, Think on Your Feet®, The Skilled Presenter™ and Grammar on the Rocks™. He is also accredited to deliver Dr Edward de Bono’s Six Thinking Hats®, Lateral Thinking™ and Power of Perception™.

He brings a wide range of practical business experience to his training. He has worked in a corporate environment as an engineer, before spending 15 years managing customer service, marketing and sales departments. He subsequently held a senior position on people development programmes in BT. His corporate career gave him both first-hand knowledge of day-to-day management issues and the opportunity to play a leading part in many cutting-edge projects.