6 Tips for Great Presentations

(In conversation with Karen from our learning solutions delivery team)

Karen, we were talking about the welcome growing levels of face to face training we are experiencing (something we here at STL have maintained and supported throughout the last 2 years). We got onto considering that there are going to be a good number of us who may have to give our first in-person presentation for quite some time and it’s only natural to feel some nerves!

What suggestions would you recommend to someone preparing for a presentation?

Tip 1:  Preparation is vital for great presentations

It’s important to remember that there is more to a successful presentation than simply standing in front of an audience and doing your thing. Preparation is vital and the more time and effort your commit to this, the better your chances of being successful.

Tip 2:  Consider what you want the presentation to achieve.

As a result of your presentation do you want the audience to:

      • Know something
      • Decide something
      • Do something

It could be just one of the above, a combination of or all three but it’s important to recognise exactly what you want from your audience before you begin to prepare.

If it’s a business presentation you should also consider if, by delivering it, will you be helping to improve:

      • Productivity
      • Efficiency
      • Profitability

If the presentation doesn’t help increase any of these things, then ask yourself whether it’s worth doing at all? If it does, then make sure the audience knows that as well.

Tip 3: Do your audience research.

The more you know about who your audience are, the easier it becomes to tailor your presentation to ensure it meets their needs. Ask these questions to build a profile of your audience prior to delivering your presentation.

      • What are their roles?
      • How will your presentation benefit them?
      • What relevant knowledge/experience do they already have?
      • Is there anything in your presentation that might cause concern?
      • What are their communication preferences?

Tip 4:  Make sure your presentation has a clear beginning, middle and end.

Use the beginning of your presentation to explain the purpose and context. You might want to pose a question, make a statement or use some statistics and/or a picture that ‘hooks’ the audience and makes them eager to hear more.

The middle of your presentation is all about making sure you provide the right level of detail, delivered in the right way, that makes certain your audience have understood what you want from them as a result of your delivery.

We use the end of the presentation to confirm the important points you have made, to remind the audience of what you now want them to know, decide or do.

Tip 5:  Check your logistics

Don’t make the mistake of preparing a beautiful presentation on PowerPoint and then finding that there is no projector available in the room. It’s also important to confirm how many people are likely to turn up as so you have enough space and refreshments. These, and many more, are mistakes I’ve made which meant I learned the hard way. A quick checklist of things to make sure meet your needs:

      • Venue/Room
      • Audience invites
      • Technology
      • Flip charts/pens
      • Refreshments

Tip 6:  Prepare yourself.

You know yourself better than anyone so make sure you prepare yourself to be successful.

      • Practice the presentation beforehand and get some feedback.
      • Get a good night’s sleep beforehand.
      • Make sure you have water available as even the most confident of presenters can get a dry mouth.
      • Visualise a successful presentation. This really works, try it!


As you see, your great presentation starts with great preparation.  As Alexander Graham Bell wisely said “Before anything else, preparation is the key to success”

Thank you Karen for sharing these tips!

For some more tips check out further blogs and infographics:

How to get rid of nerves during your Presentation

Some Essential Tips to Boost Your Productivity



Are you overwhelmed by priorities?  Well, focusing on the essential priorities can make the difference between feeling continually stretched to actually feeling more relaxed and successful!

Prioritisation is a time management skill fundamental to the success of both effective managers and professionals. For many of us the plain truth is, that although we tell others to prioritise, we don’t always manage to do it consistently for ourselves.

Why don’t we practice what we preach?

Prioritising is essential for our health as it reduces stress.  It improves work life balance by creating better boundaries.  You may find that much of the work you felt was urgent, isn’t really essential at all.

Very often we find ourselves backed into a corner due to a very common underlying reason…….

Saying Yes to everything!

Is this true for you? Do you or others around you fall into the trap of saying “yes” because:

      • You like to please people?
      • You need to know everything and feel in control?
      • Or you have a fear of missing out? (FOMO)

Maybe you have another reason? (Please let us know!)

Saying “yes” to everything may give you a short term benefit. However, it’s likely to get in the way of the long term satisfaction you get from succeeding with your most important goals.

Instead of endlessly saying “yes” to our manager, key customers and colleagues, we need to decide what’s essential.

3 Keys to Success

Deciding on what’s essential is a tried and tested way to clarify what our priorities are.


Here is a three step process to help you do this:

Take time to reflect!

The most effective managers and leaders block time to reflect in their diary every day. Without reflection we behave like hamsters in wheels, going round and round, and never stopping to think why.  Here’s a quote from the successful investor Warren Buffet about how he prioritises his own time:

“I insist on a lot of time being spent, almost every day, to just sit and think. That is very uncommon in American business. I read and think. So I do more reading and thinking, and make less impulse decisions than most people in business.”

Learn to say “No”.

When we were cavemen and women, saying “no” was pretty risky.  It could result in social exclusion and being left to the mercy of large animals on our own. Today’s manager can develop a repertoire of ways to elegantly and unapologetically say “no” without risk to life or limb. Learn how to do this and experiment with different ways every day!

“The difference between successful people and really successful people is that really successful people say no to almost everything.” Warren Buffet.

Focus on a few things only – Your essentials

Greg McKeown, author of “Essentialism”, tells us that the thing that holds capable, disciplined people from breaking through to the next level, is success. Why? It gives too many options, which then, if not managed, lead to failure. The answer is the disciplined pursuit of less. This means finding out and focussing on a few things only. Greg tells you more on how to do this in his video for Stanford Business School here.


Focusing on a few essential priorities is key to your long term success. Developing the associated skills – being able to reflect, say “no” and focus on a few things only, can help you succeed. Again, in the words of Warren Buffet:

“The most important investment you can make is in yourself.”