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Giving a powerful presentation is something you can learn. to do it well is not about knowing your subject, being word perfect, or hyper-active PowerPoint. It’s about confidence and class, both of which can be learned.

I had the ‘privilege’ of watching a sad and uninspiring talk yesterday. Despite my best intentions to watch and learn, my inner critic took over half way through the first PowerPoint slide.

Committing all the usual sins of overloading the slides with illegible (from the back of the room) detail, reading the slides instead of addressing the audience, failing to make the topic (American business ideas from the 1990’s) relevant to the audience (a local business networking group), and above, all failing to ‘connect’ with the people in the room, the speaker lost us quickly. Not only did they miss a great opportunity to promote their training company, they confirmed stereotypes of the superficial trainer and ‘death by PowerPoint’.

I’m not happy about being so critical, but as I’ve been there I am qualified to comment. I thought I could improve as a trainer when I started out in 1993 (I was rubbish). I wanted to engage my audience with a powerful presentation in every session, so I went and got some coaching. I also studied brilliant trainers, stand-ups, and other speakers to see how they did it. I also set myself personal performance and learning targets for every single presentation I gave. I still do, and I’m still learning.

Ive also hired a lot of trainers in my time. I’ve learned a lot from the best of them, and I can tell you it’s not just about knowing their subject. First and formost good presenters are entertainers; they know how to engage and amuse their audience. If you doubt that, j watch the faces of the people in this video.

How to Give a Powerful Presentation

If you are apprehensive about speaking to a group or presenting your topic, please watch the video below. Caroline Goyder is not only an expert in her craft, she is also compelling to watch as she hooks the audience from the start (just look at their faces), with practical advice we should all be aware of.

How to develop Personal Confidence

See Amy Cuddy’s video on How Posture Affects Confidence.

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