A Beginner's Guide to Presentations

public speaking tips May 10, 2021

Presentations can be intimidating for some even kind of scary. It’s easy to get lost in the details that are demanded from a public speaking event so the purpose of this post is to help you reframe your thinking about presentations.

Simply, let’s get back to the basics. After all, you can only eat an elephant one bite at a time. So, before you let yourself get overwhelmed, let’s focus on the three essentials of any presentation. If you can approach your public speaking with this lens it should allow you to chunk down your tasks and priorities into one of these three camps.


The first element of any presentation is your content. This stage is generally the most difficult since it involves you doing research, gathering data, and ultimately constructing a creative narrative to house your findings. Even though we are talking about three separate sections you would think this portion makes up one-third of your talk but it is more substantial than that number. I would argue closer to 60-70%. Your content is your foundation and will dictate everything to follow. If you construct an effective message than the design and delivery of that message will easily come to life.


Once you have created a powerful narrative, the next stage in the process is to bring it to life visually through engaging slides. Whether you choose PowerPoint, Keynote, Prezi, Google Slides, or another platform of your choice - you want to keep the look and feel simple. No bullets. No overly complicated graphs. Your slides simply need to accent your message. Personally, I prefer more slides over less to keep things moving at a reasonable pace. Our audience’s attention spans are shrinking so the extra eye candy can go a long way with any talk.


And the last component of any presentation is delivery. This is you in front of a room or on a stage. What do you look like? Are you confident? Are you charismatic? What about your hands and feet - what are you doing with them and what do they look like? Style of dress? And, most importantly are you comfortable in your own skin? We live in a world full of judges so your approach to delivery has to be hyper-focused to help combat and potentially eliminate any unnecessary disasters.


Content. Design. Delivery. These three areas are the core of any presentation. You must focus on all three to succeed. As I mentioned earlier, go aggressive on the Content piece and the rest will come together easily and naturally.

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