Making your presentations successful

Making your presentations successful

With clarity and structure


  • Be confident and clear about what you want to say
  • Make your presentation easy to follow and memorable for your audience - Use a basic structure and effective visual support


What is a presentation? Communicating ideas or messages to an audience with the aim of achieving something.

Making a powerful and memorable presentation can be extremely important when you want to get your team on board with a project or implement a change, present results to the board of directors, or make your mark with a client or important stakeholder.

A good presenter combines what they want to say with what the audience needs to hear! When your presentation is crystal clear, its content is relevant and it is presented in an easy to follow manner, you can deliver it with confidence and enjoyment. Preparation is essential**, as is simplicity and strong, inspiring visuals.


The golden rule for structuring a presentation is:

"Tell them what you are going to tell them...

... tell them...

... and then tell them what you have told them.

The average audience forgets 80% of what you say. So it is important that they remember the 20% you want them to remember!

  1. Basic structure

First identify the purpose of your presentation and the three main messages you want to convey to your audience.

Your presentation should have an introduction and a clear transition to each of your three main points, followed by a conclusion that summarises the three main messages and links them to the big picture, the importance of the messages to the organisation as a whole or to a wider entity.

You can now fit your ideas into the structure below.



Key message 1 and facts

Key message 2 and facts

Key message 3 and facts

Conclusion (summarise in 3 key messages)

Open dialogue with the audience

2. The introduction

At the beginning of the presentation, the audience should know the following

  • The duration of the presentation
  • Who you are and/or why you are making the presentation.
  • The importance of the topic - this can be communicated through a controversial statement, a cartoon, a short video or a powerful image.
  • A brief overview of the three points you are going to make.

The audience should also feel that you are interested in them, that your message is relevant to them and that you connect with them as a person.

3. Manage his stress

  • Take a moment to connect with your audience by scanning their face and making eye contact.
  • Stand tall with confidence, but relaxed and inspired by what you are saying.
  • Feel warmth towards your listeners and assume their benevolent intent. They will be infected by your positivity.

4. Main points

  • Pause between each section of the presentation and use language to guide your audience, making it clear when one section is over and the next begins. Change the tone of your voice and possibly change position to mark the transition.
  • Introduce each message clearly and then follow it with an illustration, data or statistics, a story or anecdote, an image or a metaphor that will stay with the audience long after the presentation is over.

5. The conclusion

  • The conclusion should summarise what you have said during the presentation and tie your message to the bigger picture.
  • End with something that will emotionally touch the audience or inspire them, as this is what allows the working memory to shift elements to the long-term memory.

As you near the end of your presentation, pause powerfully, then use a quote, a personal remark from the heart, an image or metaphor that inspires emotion or a description of a vision for the future.

6. Using the Power Point

  • A power point should include graphics, images or symbols that capture the essence of your message. Slides should never be text that people can read instead of listening to you.
  • As a general rule, a slide should be no more than five lines and no more than five words per line. Your job is to develop and expand on the key concepts presented on the slide. The average speaker takes 2 minutes per PowerPoint slide and 100-150 words per minute for a speech.

TIP: There are no more words on a slide than on a T-shirt!

7. Practice

  • Review your presentation in front of the mirror or film yourself on your phone and see how you can improve your gestures and posture.
  • Recognise the value of what you are communicating. This will take your focus from yourself to your audience.
  • Focus on the ideas of your presentation rather than the exact words. Each time you practice, the words you use may be a little different, but you will become more confident in presenting your ideas.

8. Mind palate technique

You can use the mental palate technique to remember each step of your presentation. This is a mnemonic technique that dates back to ancient times. Think of a place you know well, your home for example. In each room, view a symbol or image that represents each main point of your presentation. Mentally walk through your house and place an image in each room.

For example:

  • One point of your talk could be about building trust. You can visualise a teddy bear sitting on your kitchen table to represent trust.
  • Then you talk about working together as a team and see a football in the bathroom.
  • The third message can be about following the rules and you see an owl on the couch, or any other symbol you can think of to represent rules.

This technique is useful if you do not have a power point to remind you of the main points of your presentation.


Start by writing your ideas on Post-Its. Then place your Post-Its in your frame.  Arrange your ideas until you are happy with the flow of your presentation, then write the main content.