Presentation Skills

by Deborah Burdett
A New Colour

Love them or hate them, presentations are a part of professional life.

Presenting is supposedly the third biggest fear after spiders and heights. (I’m with them on heights, but I fell off a ladder when I was 13 so I feel I am justified).

In May 2013 Zokit. very kindly asked me to run a Business Wisdom session on presentation skills and the following are some top tips taken from the session.


Looking confident will help you feel confident. We know how confidence looks so it’s worth practising a confident pose; stand up straight and smile and you’ll immediately feel (more) in control.

Tailor your pitch

Your audience falls into one of three styles of relating: achievement, affiliation, power. Command respect by ‘hitting the spot’ with examples of how they can win personally, win together or just win.


Know your subject. If your subject is the business you work for or own, how would you describe it accurately in five words?

How people learn

A presentation is about imparting information and needs to appeal to the three main learning styles: visual, auditory and kinaesthetic. If possible have something your audience can see, e.g. on a flipchart or powerpoint to satisfy the visuals, talk it through for the listeners (auditory) and find something to do for the feelers (kinaesthetic), even if it is only standing up and stretching. As an aside, I would avoid giving out handouts until the end of a presentation as most of the audience will immediately look at them and ignore you.

Engage interest

Satisfy the questions ‘what, why, how’ – what is this about, why should I listen, how do I use it. Don’t forget the more unusual question ‘what if’; provide an example of how the subject matter of your presentation could lead to something new and potentially intriguing.

Sell the sizzle not the sausage

I know this is an old one but it still holds true. For example, a good car salesperson won’t sell the features of a car but tell you the benefits of speed, trendiness and sex-appeal of a super-duper sports number. Or maybe how a spacious people carrier will mean you can fit in the whole family in comfort as well as the weekly shop.


The three tells; tell them what you are going to tell them, tell them, tell them what you’ve told them. We humans have the concentration skills of a gnat; in fact it is reckoned that we can hold 7 pieces (+ or – 2) of information in the conscious mind at any one time, so don’t imagine that your audience is gripped by every word you say!

I’m happy to offer group training or individual coaching; please contact me on


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