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presentation tips, 5 top tips for a great presentation

Five top tips for a great presentation

We’re all capable of presenting well.

But we need to follow key rules.

All demonstrated by a client last week.

Visiting our Glasgow studios, she delivered a presentation.

It was better than any election pitch I’ve seen this month.

So what did she do right?

Our client mastered the five key rules that create a great presentation.

What was so good about her presentation skills?

Read on.

Rule One: Get to the point

presentation tips, get to the point, woman at conference

She told us:

“Our goal is to bring one million more visitors to Glasgow each year.”

That came in the first 30 seconds of a three-minute pitch.

We’d explained how to build a ‘pyramid of communication’.

Where you get to the point straight away.

By asking three questions:

  • What do I want to say?
  • Who am I talking to?
  • So how should I put it?

Once you’ve answered these questions, you can lead with what’s in it for the audience.

Which she did.

Rule Two: Enthuse

presentation tips, enthuse, david attenborough

Watch Sir David Attenborough.

And you’ll see what enthusiasm looks like.

He’s well into his 90s.

His passion for nature and the environment are undiminished.

He oozes zest and energy.

And so did our client.

If she believed in what she was saying , so would the audience.

Enthusiasm is contagious.

Rule Three: Give great examples

kelvingrove museum, presentation tips, great examples

This was the only thing lacking from our client’s first performance.

When pointed out, she changed her script.

Out went generalities.

In came vivid examples.

Of what to see and do in Glasgow.

She spoke of the city’s great shopping streets.

Museums like Kelvingrove and the Burrell.

Examples of the work of Charles Rennie Mackintosh.

All bringing the presentation into clear focus.

Rules Four: Speak slowly

presentation tips, speak slowly, man at conference

And here’s where many fall down.

By rushing through what they have to say.

To get off the stage as quickly as possible.

Slow speakers command attention.

Pauses give us time to digest what’s being said.

And crucially, give the speaker time to think.

Speaking slowly has much greater impact compared to racing through a great script.

Our client’s pace was perfect.

Speaking at a TV newsreader’s speed: three words per second.

Rule Five: Deliver a clear call to action

deliver a clear call to action, presentation tips, audience

Our client had a clear call to action first time round.

But it was too negative.

She said:

“We’re never going to achieve this goal if we don’t work together.”

Which is what we call a Pink Elephant.

An unnecessary negative.

A clear image of what we don’t want the audience to think.

(Even though we’ve put the image in their mind).

So she changed it on her second presentation:

“We can only achieve this goal by working together.”

Which is inspiring, rather than deflating.

And she’d clearly gone to school on the advice from our feedback.

People and presentations

presentation tips, people and presentations, pink elephant

We run presentation skills courses at our Glasgow studios and in boardrooms across the world.

In the 25 countries we’ve visited over the past 30 years , clients can arrive as she did.

Already a good speaker.

But the presentation tips they pick up can take them from good to great.

Or they can arrive frightened of presenting.

Terrified of public speaking.

And leave convinced they can do it.

We all have it in us.

That ability just needs to be brought to the surface.



Bill McFarlan is co-Founder and Executive Chairman at Pink Elephant Communications in Glasgow.

You can read his full profile here.


Photos by Media Evolution / CC BY-SA / World Economic Forum / CC BY-NC-SA / liquidindian / CC BY-NC-SA on

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