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  • Writer's pictureBarbara Mayfield, MS, RDN, LD, FAND

Take your presenting from good to great

Updated: Oct 5, 2023

Multi cultural adult audience clapping with enthusiasm

Presentation skills are essential in today’s workplaces, organizations, and via digital channels. Whether you present in person or online, the ability to deliver content clearly and compellingly is vital for success.

5 Tips for Achieving Presentation Excellence

Whether your presentations are for lay or professional audiences, these same principles apply:

Tip #1 Address a need

Communication is only truly effective when it meets a need. Determine what your audience needs by asking them and then deliver it. When an audience perceives that you know them and what they need, they will show up, listen, learn, and take action.

So, before you prepare your presentation, determine your purpose. Answer the “why” first.

Tip #2 Create great content

Put together a presentation that delivers accurate, up-to-date content your audience needs to know. Make sure it is at the right level for maximum understanding. Provide relevant illustrations and examples to support and explain your message.

Organize your content logically and creatively. Make it meaningful, memorable, and motivating.

Tip #3 Prepare and practice

Allow plenty of time to practice. The rehearsal process begins with talking through your speech until it becomes natural and well-paced. Then get on your feet to rehearse with gesturing and body movement.

Videotape and rehearse for others to receive feedback about what you are doing well and what can be improved. Make changes and practice some more.

Tip #4 Connect and engage

Consider a presentation to be a dynamic conversation with an audience. Begin with a warm smile and genuine eye contact. Connect with the entire audience using facial expressions, eye contact, and words that are meaningful and inspiring.

Engage your audience with questions and activities. Solicit feedback and be responsive. A connected audience is a receptive audience.

Tip #5 Be yourself – your best self

As stated in the introduction of Chapter 21 of Communicating Nutrition: The Authoritative Guide:

“There are multiple ways to deliver an effective presentation; the key is to apply timeless presentation principles using your own unique style. Don’t try to imitate another speaker. Be yourself. Be your best self.” Continually improve your presentation skills.

Go from good to great

Even after three decades of professional speaking I continually seek ways to hone my skills and learn new approaches to effectively deliver content and engage audiences.

I participate in a local Toastmasters club, which provides a great place to practice new skills, try out speech concepts, and get excellent feedback. If you are looking for a supportive environment to achieve your speaking goals, I encourage you to consider Toastmasters.

To locate a club near you (there are more than 15,000 in 144 countries, so there is likely one near you!), visit the Toastmasters International website.

If you need personal guidance, I would be honored to coach you on speech content, delivery, or both. For more information about coaching options, visit my coaching page. It costs nothing to find out more.

Give voice to your ideas. There’s an audience waiting for you to deliver a clear and compelling presentation.

“There is no one way to give a great talk.” ~ Chris Anderson, TED Talks: The Official Guide to Public Speaking

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