9 top tips for stand up presentations

Some top tips for stand up presentations. Well 9 in fact.

The day has come. You’re due to be making a presentation at work soon, and you’re looking round the internet for some inspiration – yes ?! There are many sources of information, and it time well spent to have a look around and prepare yourself for what you are about to do. Up to a point the more time you spend at the planning stage the better.  

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You WILL be successful - good planning is key

Let’s consider 9 top tips for presenting at work.  

Focus on your audience. In other words, think about what they want to hear. Not so much on what you want to say, but on what they want from your presentation. For instance you might have 122 ideas on how you could improve the effectiveness of the work process you’re presenting. However they almost certainly will have lost the will to live before you get to number 47, so decide on 19 innovative or refreshing or key ideas. And just go with that.

Think about who they are and what they want. Are you out to persuade, entertain or inform? Fit your preparation around this.

  1. Don’t overrun. Time yourself & add a bit of time on for questions, interruptions etc. Nothing kills a good speech faster than going over your alloted time. And heaven forbid if you start to encroach on their coffee break or toilet break time. Or worse still their time for a ciggy! Practising your presentation a few times in advance and timing it should take care of this.
  2. Practice. You do this to make it look as natural and fluent on the day as possible. It will also calm you, knowing and feeling confident with the structure of your presentation. It means you’ve only got the audience to concentrate on, on the day.
  3. Use the minimum of notes you feel comfortable with. You want to engage with your audience as much as possible, so by all means take text with you, but you really want to just be prompted by key words or phrases in your presentation. And whatever you do, don’t look down and read passages to your audience. It will make them feel embarrassed for you. This is not good. 
  4. Dress to impress but feel comfortable. Your choice of clothing lets the audience know you are taking this seriously. Consider what you are going to wear to project the image you want them to have of you.
  5. Think about what you admire or like in a presenter. This is a great guide. I would hope that it includes such chararcteristics as someone who seems natural, smiles a fair bit, and makes strong eye contact with the audience. In addition, someone who uses a bit of humour gets more from the audience. 
  6. It is often said that there are 3 stages to a presentation. First tell them what you’re gonna tell them, then tell them, and then finally as you finish tell them what you told them. Even the BBC news is structured like this. First they give you the headlines, then they tell you the stories. Finally they finish with that phrase “now for the main stories again……” If it works for them, it is good enough for you and me!
  7. Aim for a powerful start. You want to grab their attention quickly and get them fully engaged. “Ok, in the next session, I’m going to demonstrate how you can tell 40+ things about someone in the first 6 words. Oh and by the way, that is someone you’ve never spoken to before and you can’t even see! 40+ things.” This is the start to one of our training modules.
  8. If you’re there as a guest speaker do not sell your business. However do show them what an expert you are and that will do all the selling for you anyway.
  9. Use anecdotes or worked examples where you can. It lifts your presentation and makes it easier for your audience to relate to. “So for the average person this would mean an increase of £15 per month” Don’t just talk percentages. Make it real.

There are of course many more top tips than this, but again thinking of you the reader we’re conscious of the fact that you’re busy and don’t want loads of information – just some key things you can use. I wish you well with your forthcoming presentation!

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