Presentation Tips and Tricks

Here are some presentation hints and tips to help make your presentation fly.

Start with a quotation

You can find lots of quotations on the Internet. We have a few on our quotations page

No one ever complained of a presentation being too short

Long presentations can turn off the audience and be boring. Say what you have to say. Stop and shut up.

A picture is worth a thousand words

Use pictures instead of bullet points and your message retention should increase. Research suggests that this could be by a factor of five.

Involve the audience

Happy Computers have made a great success of their coaching business by involving the audience. Their motto seems very apt.

“Tell me and I will forget,
Show me and I will remember,
Involve me and I will understand”.

Make the presentation interactive – if you can.

Produce an unusual statistic

It could help build some connection with the audience. I love the one by Vic Reeves – 93.7% of statistics are made up on the spot. Radio shows are filled with “strange but almost true” quotations.

Live with the fear

All presenters feel very nervous before a presentation. We have given literally hundreds, and the fear never goes away. It is a combination of adrenaline and testosterone (which affects both men and women). Learn how to harness it, just like an athlete has to.

Realise that you will come down

I love this quotation from the great performer Robert Houdin that I found in the book – Carter beats the Devil by Glen David Gold.

“It is well known that a magician feels no suffering while on the stage; a species of exaltation suspends all feelings foreign to his part, and hunger, thirst, cold, or heat, even illness itself, is forced to retreat in the presence of this excitement, though it takes revenge afterwards.”

No matter how well the presentation goes, when the testosterone wears off, you will come down with a low. If you have done well you will have been on a high – sometimes known as that Presentation Sensation. Realise that when this goes, often in the evening – you will feel low or even depressed. This is only temporary.

Clean your shoes

You will be on display. Your audience will be looking at how well turned out you are. They will look at your shoes. Make sure that you have cleaned them.

The eyes have it

Maintain good eye contact with the audience. Don’t keep contact with only one group of the audience. Spread your attention around the room.

Avoid jargon

People really do play buzzword bingo. Whether it is the “TLA” – Three Letter Abbreviation – or the “Paradigm Shift”, you don’t want the audience to be scoring points at your expense.


No – not kiss the audience – Keep It Simple Stupid. Reduce your presentation to simple concepts and your audience should be able to follow you. If you go beyond their understanding they will switch off.

Don’t use PowerPoint sound effects

It may seem funny to have applause at the end of a slide, or a screeching sound for a new bullet point, but it will turn off the audience.

Check out the room before your presentation

Make sure the room has everything that you need and make sure the presentation works on the screen. If possible, go up the day before – or at least an hour beforehand. This will avoid any nasty surprises on the big day.

Don’t drink the night before – and certainly don’t get drunk

Alcohol recovery or a hangover will be the kiss of death to your presentation. Alcohol will drain all of the enthusiasm from your voice. And if you’ve had a drink before you go on, your voice will be slightly slurred. Best avoid it, the time for a drink is after, not before.

Don’t lock your knees

When you get to the lectern, unlock your knees and act as if you are about to catch a ball. It will relax you and make it all flow much more smoothly.

Men – Take a spare tie

You don’t want a gravy spot on your tie when all eyes are on you. If you have a meal before you speak, take a spare tie with you.

We hope these presentation tips give you some inspiration. Why not try our presentation ideas?


Published On: 20th Jun 2011

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  1. Good job guys, very useful to me when I needed it most….and the idea of extra tie and clean your shoes……bingo!!!

    Bonnie the kenyan 21 Apr at 7:48 pm
  2. Kind of ruined your entire website and all your advice with your last point – your assumption that the only people who give presentations are men.

    Suzanne 6 Jun at 10:37 pm
  3. Hi Suzanne,

    thanks for the feedback, I have changed the page now to reflect this – it wasn’t an assumption that only men do presentations but more that if they are to check their tie!

    rboynton 17 Jun at 12:14 pm
  4. Many thanks for you ! Your advice made me good presenter.

    Abdysabaa 23 Aug at 8:23 pm
  5. This will come in handy, thanks a lot.

    Someone 12 Aug at 11:41 am