Skillful presentation

Nearly every professional will have to lead a presentation before a group of colleagues or customers at some point. Delivering a good speech, however, is no easy task, even for those who do it frequently. Careful preparation can help reduce the risk of mishaps.

Consider goal, audience

The first consideration when speaking before a group is identifying the goal you want to achieve. Are you trying to inform colleagues about new procedures or persuade a client to try your service? Once you have determined your aim, craft your presentation to offer audience members a tangible set of benefits.

Bring cue cards

It’s wise to have index cards containing key points on hand whenever you are asked to present. Your notes will serve as a backup and boost your confidence.


Even the most knowledgeable speakers need to rehearse their delivery. Practise before a mirror or in front of someone who will give you constructive feedback. Pay attention to any distracting habits you may have, such as clearing your throat or running your fingers through your hair. You can avoid these behaviours once you’re aware of them.

Slow down and relax

When presenting, try to maintain a moderate pace. Start in a calm, measured way and articulate your words clearly so they are easily understood. Take natural pauses when appropriate and don’t forget to breathe. You will also appear more personable and relaxed if you avoid reading verbatim from a script and smile from time to time. Along the same lines, don’t use jargon or acronyms with which your audience may not be familiar — it can be both confusing and frustrating for them.

Recover when necessary

Slip-ups happen. If you suffer a presentation snafu, don’t panic. Take a deep breath and focus on keeping your composure. Do your best to get back on track immediately. If it’s a matter that could take a few minutes to resolve, such as a technical glitch or a spill, suggest a quick “intermission.” — Agencies