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Presentation Skills

Study guide to Presentation Skills

Making an effective presentation involves communicating an idea to an audience in a clear, concise and compelling fashion. In the business context this usually means that we want either to explain something to someone and/or persuade them to take an action e.g. approve a proposal. There are a number of guidelines that can help us to understand how to ‘present with impact’, they include:

  1. Have a clear message
    Know exactly what idea you want the audience to have in their head when you finish talking. This outcome or goal should be specific and contain clear, precise ‘next steps’.
  2. Make the content meaningful to the audience
    Think about the audiences’ needs, concerns and expectations and address them directly during the talk.
  3. Adopt a logical structure
    Ensure that the talk is easy to follow by giving it a logical flow e.g. check that there is a clear beginning, middle and end.
  4. Speak naturally and with pride
    Project your voice so that you can easily be heard, make eye contact with the audience and be positive and enthusiastic as you deliver your message.

Assess the current situation

Reflect on your current approach to presentations. Think about the four statements above. What do you consider your strengths and weaknesses to be?

Think about asking for feedback from those you work with. Decide what changes you want to make and set yourself a goal(s).


Bradbury, A - Successful presentation skills
Kogan Page (2000)
Covers the process of presenting from structure through to delivery.

Dowis, R - The lost art of the great speech
AMACOM (2000)
Finer points of crafting an elegant speech with many examples from politics and business.

Watch good presenters

Identify individuals in the organisation, who you (and/or your line manager/mentor) consider to be the most successful presenters and communicators. Observe what they do. How does what they do compare to what less effective people do? How does what you see relate to your approach?


Wilder, L - 7 steps to fearless speaking
Wiley Audio (2000)
3 CD’s covering design and delivery of a talk. American content but good core messages.

Then - Most importantly

Go through the steps shown in the How to Use Our Tutorials page to really cement and develop what you've learned into a useful part of your business skill set.



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