Tips to present better

If you want to improve your ability to create powerful business presentations you have to master three aspects: preparation, design and delivery. In these articles I'll show you how.

How can you make sure your audience gives you a round of applause once you finish your presentation?

That’s an important question because this is the objective of a conclusion. With your introduction, you want them to listen and with your conclusion you want to make them clap.

I have a simple technique I like to use which works all the time.

However, let me start by saying that you need to give a great presentation in the first place, because if you don’t, even if you do make them clamp with this technique, it would be a fake applause anyway. So, make sure you have a clear and well-structured talk. Make it relevant to your audience, original and enjoyable. Tell stories, analogies and anecdotes.  

For example, some weeks ago I gave a talk to 40 business owners at a Business Breakfast. I talked about the seven most common mistakes business professionals make when they create presentations. In order to make it interactive and enjoyable, before the presentation I distributed some leaflets around the room where each leaflet included one of the seven mistakes. My presentation consisted of me calling out each mistake one by one and each time a member of the audience would share with everybody what that mistake was and then we would have a discussion. I wanted it to be more of a conversation rather than a typical presentation. The feedback I got afterwards was positive – people enjoyed the interaction.

Then, assuming you’ve given a great talk where you actually added value to your audience, how do you close?

My suggestion is to make sure that you plan your closing remarks word by word. It doesn’t matter if you feel more comfortable improvising a bit more, I’d still encourage you to carefully plan your last sentence or sentences.

For my talk, I wanted to finish on a high note and make it a bit inspirational. It doesn’t have to be inspirational all the time – the way you conclude always depends on three factors: the audience, their needs and the context. Remember ABC: Audience, Burning Needs, Context.

Here’s how I ended my talk:

If there’s one thing I’d like you to remember, it’s this: the objective of a presentation is not to inform. The objective is to transform. Presentation should rhyme not with Information but with Transformation. So from now on, do yourselves and your audiences a favour: if your only aim is information, cancel the presentation and give them a document and a coffee, it’s far more effective. But if you have an aim of transforming your audience, motivating them, making them want to buy something or making them desire something, or making them believe something new or different, then a presentation is perfect for that.

And remember that what you tell them, they’ll probably forget anyway, but what they feel and what they get out of it in terms of transformation, that will last. And that’s what makes an effective presentation. 

Finally, I wanted to make sure the talk would finish with an applause. I wanted to make them clap. How do you do that? Here’s the technique:

Just say this:

Give yourselves a big round of applause, you’ve been an amazing audience.

Be sure they will clap.


If you'd like to learn more about how to make better business presentations, check out my free report Top 7 Mistakes People Make When Creating Business Presentations.