Presentation skills tips to be more interesting

When it comes to presentation skills, people often think that nerves is the biggest barrier to successful public speaking or presenting to business groups.

But there is something even more important to your success (or otherwise) as a speaker: it is having something to say that people will find interesting to hear.

How many times have you tuned out early on in someone else’s presentation because you simply weren’t interested in what they were saying (however confidently they delivered their presentation)?

And how many presenters have had you on the edge of your seat because, despite their obvious nerves, they had something to say which you found really interesting.

The first priority of any successful presentation or public speaking should be to engage your audience so they are listening.  Get this wrong, and you can have the most brilliant message, but no one is really paying attention.

3 simple steps to help:

Step 1. Know your audience

Sounds obvious, but if you don’t know, you can’t plan what they will be interested in hearing about.  So do some research to identify:

– Who will be attending? What is their likely level of experience and knowledge, gender, age, sector or interests?

– Why are they there?  What are they hoping to get from your presentation?

– What will make this presentation a great use of their time?  What can you help them to achieve by attending?

Step 2. Use the ’10 minute rule’

Dr John Medina (author of ‘Brain Rules’) advises you follow the ’10 minute rule’, based on his extensive research into audience attention spans.  This means you need to vary your content or delivery after 10 minutes to keep people listening.  A few ideas I use when working with clients on their presentations are:

keep things varied by doing something different (show a video clip, tell a story or joke to get people relaxed, do a demo or use a prop)

involve people (eg. by asking questions, getting people to do something – an exercise, show of hands, volunteer, get them reflecting on how they will use this information themselves) – this way you avoid ‘telling’ people (which puts the audience in a passive state which makes it easy to switch off) and make it more two-way

– make it multi-sensory – by using interesting visual aids (pictures, simple diagrams or graphs) to enhance your message

use your voice – vary the pitch, pace, pause to create more drama to your talk

Step 3: Get passionate 

Connect with why you are excited to be presenting.  Many of my clients want to overcome nerves, so we work together to transform their nerves into excitement and the best way to do this is to have a presentation you are enthusiastic to be giving.  Try to engage your passion for your presentation by completing this sentence…

“I am excited to be giving this presentation because I want my audience to benefit from (fill in here) that they will get from my presentation.  I am also excited because it gives me a chance to achieve my outcome of (fill in here), which matters to me.

So to sum up,

  1. Know Your Audience
  2. Use the 10 Minute Rule
  3. Get Passionate

Three essential skills to remember to make your next presentation even more interesting.


Like more help from Caroline?

Let me know how I can help you with your next presentation by getting in touch with me here.

I have helped many people, who were once nervous and rambling to become confident and engaging public speakers.  Giving presentations, like driving lessons, is a skill you learn so you can get somewhere… and with my help you will get there in no time.