10 Tips for Delivering Better Presentations

Posted on Wed, Jun 15, 2016
10 Tips for Delivering Better Presentations

By Sabrina Griffin, RN, BSN, CEN

We’ve all sat through a rambling, incoherent presentation that lacked focus and didn’t keep listeners’ attention. The key to getting – and keeping – your audience riveted is simple: Preparation.

For a short presentation that part of a longer meeting, Dale Carnegie knew best. The 90-second “elevator pitch” is an essential communication tool.

The standard format for a 90-second presentation includes:

  • Introduce yourself - Even though “everyone knows you,” unless you are meeting with this same group every day, they have all slept since your last meeting, and it’s nice not to keep people guessing. It’s especially valuable for phone conferences. Voices are not as recognizable as faces.
  • Key Message - Complete this sentence: I wanted to bring to everyone’s attention that <fill in the blank>.
  • Action - Explain the actionable part of the message. Phrases to use may include: “Here’s how we resolved it…,” “The following change is in process/being considered,” “This project is scheduled to launch…,” “We are looking for help on the solution. If you have any ideas, could we set some time to talk about them?”
  • Identify the take-away – “If you leave with nothing else from my presentation today, just know this…” or “What’s really crucial for you to understand is …”
  • Thank you and summary – “Thank you for your interest in my <repeat key message point>.”

For longer presentations or to refine your elevator pitch, here are a few other quick tips for adding polish:
  • Assume your audience will be interested. Don’t assume they already know what you are sharing.
  • Connect with each person, but limit the sidebar conversations. Let this presentation be for everyone.
  • Speak slowly and clearly… and don’t use jargon. Although people may work in your same office, they may not know your acronyms.
  • Be a storyteller. People have learned from parables for thousands of years. Sharing a message through the use of a chart, a sample or some other visual can paint a picture in the mind of the listener and improve the understanding of the message.
  • Use visuals. Remember the wonder of “show and tell?” Although we are no longer six years old, we are still by nature visual learners. If you can bring something to show online (or email something in advance), you can get the benefit of the extra thousand words a picture paints.

With some preparation, descriptive language and “show and tell” visuals, you’ll be able to get your point across and keep your colleagues captivated.

Sabrina Griffin

Sabrina Griffin, RN, BSN, CEN, is the Divisional Director of Clinical Services in EmCare’s Alliance Group.

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