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Tips For First Time Presenters


I am about to start helping a group of people who are going to have to deliver presentations to a fairly large audience. These people have never presented before and I was wondering if anyone had any 'top tips' they could share? Anything, from body language and eye contact, to helping with nerves etc.
All suggestions greatly appreciated!
Thanks (in advance)

Lucy Sleigh

11 Responses

  1. Tip
    Hi Lucy

    One tip I can give you is use your audience. What I mean is if you get stuck, go blank, have someone who is objectionable etc… throw it to the audience you could say ‘ that’s very interesting, what does the rest of the group feel about that’ I had one guy on a management course (day one) some years ago and after I had finished a sentence about leadership styles, he leaned back in his chair, put his arms behind his head and said I totally disagree with what you’ve just said! I asked him to tell me what his thoughts were (which were a bit odd to say the least!) and when he had finished I asked the rest of the group ‘what are your thoughts on this’ It worked a treat and I actually really got to like the guy by the end of the programme!

    hope this helps

  2. tips for presenters
    Hi Lucy
    Well so many….

    My top tips include:
    1) Only talk about something for which you have passion or enthusiasm for.
    2) have a very clear goal of what success for your presentation will be like
    3) Use prompt cards. In the event of an emergency a full-blown script will not be of any help at all.
    4) Rehearse your presentation out loud. Make sure you know precisely for how long your talk will last. Stick to the allocated time
    5) To help keep your nerves under control, take a few minutes out in a quiet place before your presentation.
    6) As you stand to speak take in a deep breath. Take up your position – look at the audience, smile and start only when you are ready. (Half the battle is to look confident.)
    7) Let the audience know that you’re coming to the end of your presentation by saying something like, “So, to draw together the strings of my presentation I’d like to sum up by saying…”
    8) Be yourself – use gestures if that is natural for you
    9) Before you do the presentation rehearse
    10) It is important to practice with a rehearsal
    11) Did I mention that you need to rehearse…. again

    Top do not’s:
    1) Do not read from a script
    2) Do not expect to ‘wing it’ and have a good response
    3) Do not tell any jokes (unless you have survived open mike night at the comedy club)

    A great little book you can use as a ‘take away’ is Perfect Communications” by Andrew Leigh & Michael Maynard. Or at least it is a great resource for you.


  3. What not to do
    Hi Lucy

    One ‘not to’ I saw at a conference recently was where the projector was ceiling mounted and nearly every presenter stood so that the content of the slide was running over their face and body. They should have stood to the side (where the lecturn was placed!!)

    Totally agree with Mike’s comments on practice and rehearsal – an extra tip is to get someone to listen while you rehearse – they can judge pace, pauses etc better than you can do for yourself (or they could video/audio tape themselves).

    Another thing I like to do if I have the opportunity is to go into the room on my own and just pace out the area where I will be. It helps me get a feel for the room.

    On the day at the beginning of the presentation one last check to ensure everything is to hand, look up, smile at the audience, take a breath and then start. Only takes a couple of seconds but helps relax nerves.



  4. an idea
    I recently ran a series of (free) one day training events for a Guide Dogs for the Blind “volunteer speakers” who give presentations to schools and groups.

    I produced a pre briefing pack for the day and at the event each person gave a 10 minute presentation and got individual feedback from the other delegates and myself.

    This worked extremely well because it made them all prepare, rehearse, practice and develop confidence as well as learning from each other.

    Several of the speakers were blind, working without any notes, and all had the disturbance of having dogs present.

    The time spent on presentations and feedback limits the number of delegates on the day but the quality of experience makes up for the relatively small throughput of such an event.


  5. Presentation Skills


    Imagine a giant letter M is in front of you. Move your eyes along the M like a lighthouse on a continual basis.You will catch each person in turn without anyone feeling uncomfortable.SMILE

    Start with a GRABBER(hot statement,curious fact,a ?)and then as Bob Monkhouse used to say

    Tell them what you are going to say
    Say it
    Tell them you have said it AND….


    All good wishes


  6. Thanks!
    Just wanted to say thanks to everyone who replied – there is a lot of useful information there!

  7. Top Three Tactics for Poor Presentations

    Tactic One
    Put your trust in the Presentation Fairy – you know your stuff – so an articulate and valuable presentation will happen just as soon as you open your mouth. You don’t need to identify what message you want your audience to receive or waste time designing a presentation that really gets that message across. At all costs avoid talking to any of your audience in advance about their expectations. Do not rehearse – just busk it. Do not be put off if your audience become bored and restless.

    Tactic Two
    Do not practice getting the main points of your presentation across, without notes, in a logical order and a relaxed manner. Commit every word of your speech to memory until you can recite it in your sleep. This tactic will only let you down if your audience start to think you are a robot or if you forget a word and have to start all over again from the beginning. Do not be distracted by giggling or robot noises from the audience.

    Tactic Three
    Before you start your presentation give your audience a detailed account of your life, your professional background and experience – and anything else you think might interest them – your DIY attempts or your children’s exam success, for example. Don’t spend any time thinking about what your audience needs or wants or how you can help them to accomplish that. After all – you are the expert – and what do you know most about, if not yourself? Do not allow the fixed, polite smiles of the audience to unnerve you.

  8. Advertisement

    Do you not already have a library of books on presentation skills?

    May I recommend a book specifically designed to provide the kind of information you are looking for: “Successful Presentation Skills” (Kogan Page), now in its third edition.

    It includes virtually all of the tips below [ with the exception of the reverse psychology 😉 ], plus lots more.
    I can recommend this book with great confidence – because I wrote it


    Be well

  9. Arian Associates Ltd
    Prepare Thoroughly; Have a practice run; Stay Calm & Don’t Panic on the day – the people you are presenting to are only human after all.

  10. Presentation Skills Tips
    I think remembering your audience are only human is one of the best tips!
    When presenting to a large group it is very easy to try and take responsibility for the way that everyone is feeling and this really is an impossible mission.
    In my experience, as long as most of the audience are listening/responding/awake then you are winning!
    Thanks again to everyone who responded to my request!


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