Tag Archives: presentations

Want to know the secret of a great presentation?

What’s the best way to keep people interested in your presentation?

Have you got a big presentation coming up? Are you worried that your audience will think you’re boring?

Would you like to know the one thing great presenters do all the time to keep their audience interested?

The secret is a technique used by great public speakers, performers, comedians, politicians – even top salesmen.

When you give a presentation you also give a performance.  So you need to mimic the techniques used by performers.

So what is it?

Well, it’s already been used four times in this article so far. Have you spotted it? (clue – that’s the fifth appearance)

No? (that’s six)

The trick to keeping your audience engaged is to ask questions.

You don’t have to wait for the answer. But each question makes the listener subconsciously answer it for themselves  and they want to know if your answer agrees with theirs.


You can introduce questions to the driest of subject matters.

Imagine you are presenting annual sales figures.  Instead of saying “You can see here that sales rose by 10%” why not switch it round?

Try “Can you see here that sales rose by 10%?”

Your audience will pay close attention because they want to congratulate themselves that of course, they can see the increase.


Asking a question also changes the tone of your voice. It can help add variety to your tone and your pace. Your voice will naturally rise at the end of a sentence which asks a question. (go on, try it)

It’s almost impossible to present in a monotone way if you ask a few questions.

No-one expects you to be a stand-up comedian when you present. In most cases it would be wholly inappropriate. But you can watch them and see the techniques they use to get a roomful of strangers on their side.

I’d bet my house that few of them manage more than a minute on screen without asking the audience at least one question.

Watch some of the best speech makers and presenters in action.  While heavy Churchillian rhetoric is out of fashion you’ll still see some of the greats asking questions.

Of course by asking the question you give yourself the opportunity to provide the answer – the answer you want your audience to agree with – and the one you want them to remember.

Is this a powerful way to convince someone you are right? You bet.

Another benefit to asking questions during your presentation is they give you the opportunity to breathe. Sounds obvious, but many people who are giving a presentation become so nervous they forget to do the basics – like take a breath. Nerves are natural – part of the human body’s in-built survival mechanism.

Giving a presentation can be scary and it’s only natural you should feel nervous.

But you don’t want to gallop through your presentation. If you do there’s a risk your audience won’t understand what you were trying o say.

Asking questions in your text will help introduce natural sounding pauses. While you momentarily pause after your question to allow your audience time to reach their answer, you can breathe.

If you’re still nervous about presenting or want more advice on how to improve your technique you should consider taking specialist advice. Training courses on presentation skills which provide interactive sessions that allow you to practice your skills can be worth every penny. But make sure you choose a course that’s tight for you. www.skillstudio.co.uk is a good place to start.   The skills you learn will be with you for life and, because they’re transferable skills, can be applied to more situations than just presenting.

Five Ways to Improve Your Presentation Skills

Over the course of your studies there tend to be countless public speaking opportunities, whether it be in assemblies, presentations, acting or accepting awards. Mastering being heard, listened to and informative is a skill which will not only get you through school, college and university with good grades, but also through your career and social life, too.

Being a great public speaker is a gift very few people have innately. The poise, the charisma and the connection with the audience are things that can be learnt and honed. Whether presenting a finding from your BTEC or A Level to your teachers, in a job interview, speaking at a friend’s wedding or reporting to your boss, here are five ways to improve your presentation skills that will see you through your life…


Whether your audience is 2 people or 2 hundred, connecting with them is vitally important. It’s essential to connect through body language and eye contact and using open, friendly gestures with your arms and hands. Likewise, moving (if you’re not sitting) confidently and freely, keeps the audience’s attention on you. Also, the use of eye contact, and frequent questions (and listening to the answers, of course) maintains engagement. Feed off your audience – involve them if you can.


It’s never a bad idea to have notes to give you guidance, but by the same token it’s important not to try to not read from them. While preparation is key, too many notes can be a hindrance, particularly when used as a crutch. This goes for interviews, award ceremonies and exam presentations.


As your own worst critic, practising in front of a mirror can help enormously to hone your presentation skills. Practice does make perfect – and timing yourself and owning the information you are going to portray is crucial. Practising in different environments is also important – that way you are more likely to be prepared for any eventuality. You are there to deliver something: make sure you really get through to your audience, think about how you are going to do that and practise that method.

The Message

Message is everything. Ensure what you are saying is actually relevant, interesting and concise. If humour is appropriate, add it. What do you want people to take away from your presentation? Identify it and ensure it comes across clearly in your speech. If you are presenting at the end of your course or part of an interview, ensure your conclusion or your findings form the focus of the presentation.

Be Memorable

Using aids or props such as PowerPoint, PDF presentations or music adds interest and can make the presentation more memorable to your audience. If you want audience participation and are worried about them not coming forward, have sweets or things to throw to get them to lighten up, relax and realise it’s a bit of fun for them.

Sarah Spencer is a teacher and guest blogger who is passionate about education.