OVER the last five years of evaluating more than 1,500 presentations delivered by executives, sales people and the C-suite, I have come to the conclusion that there are 10 guidelines you need to internalise and follow in order to become a world-class presenter. These are:

1
 Get to the point
Your audience is living in a world of dramatic distraction where everything around them is competing for their attention. 
You cannot afford to be long-winded. Cut the fluff and get to the core of your message fast.
2
 Less is more 
It is not about how much information you can give. It is about how much information your audience can receive and remember. 
No one will ever complain that your presentation is too short. But you can be assured that they will complain if your presentation is too long. 
3
 Sell the ‘why’ first
Context is more important than the content. Your audience won’t be open to hear the “what” and the “how” until they are sold by the “why”. 
Start by answering the “why’s” in your audience’s heads: “Why should I care?”, “Why is this important to me?” and “Why does your message matter?”
4
 Every presentation is 
a persuasion opportunity
A presentation is a lousy way of dumping information on your audience. It would be faster for them to just read it. 
Instead, your role is to persuade your audience to change their preferences or their perspectives. Your words, your slides and your props are merely tools to help you achieve this objective.
5
 Your audience is king
People do not come to your presentation to exalt you. They come to find out what you can do for them. 
Success as a presenter means that you help them solve their most pressing problems, you share insights that will make their lives better and, most importantly, you leave them better off than before.
6
 Connect before you influence
People buy people first. Before your audience buys your idea, your product or your service, they have to first buy you. Only when they like you, trust you and believe in you, will they buy what you are saying. 
So before you attempt to influence, first connect by speaking their lingo. Even better, show them that you are on their side. 
7
 Help your audience see what you say
Words have the power to motivate change and inspire results only when your audience can see what you say in their minds. It is the visual images you paint in their minds that rouse their emotions and energise them into action. 
8
 Obey the 90/20/8 principle 
This principle was first introduced by Bob Pike, an adult-learning specialist. 
To keep your audience engaged, involve them every eight minutes and change the channel of information delivery every 20 minutes. 
Also bear in mind that no presentation should go more than 90 minutes without giving the audience a physical break.  
9
 Fact tells but stories sell 
Stories are real. They are easy to tell and relate. They are memorable. They are emotional. They give third-party credibility. And above it all, stories have the power to move people into action. 
Perhaps that’s why the late Bill Gove (“the father of the professional speaking”) summarised the essence of public speaking into six words: Tell a story, make a point. 
10
 Be authentic
Your audience will choose an authentic speaker over a polished speaker every single time. 
Make sure you believe every single word that you say and, more importantly, walk the talk. 
Ultimately, what is going to give weight to your presentation is not your stories or your slides. It is you.
Article by Eric Feng. He helps executives, sales people and C-suite corporate leaders present with confidence and charisma. He is also the author of a book on presentation skills, Get To The Point. For more information and resources on public speaking, visit www.ericfeng.com

OVER the last five years of evaluating more than 1,500 presentations delivered by executives, sales people and the C-suite, I have come to the conclusion that there are 10 guidelines you need to internalise and follow in order to become a world-class presenter. These are:

1 Get to the point

Your audience is living in a world of dramatic distraction where everything around them is competing for their attention. 

You cannot afford to be long-winded. Cut the fluff and get to the core of your message fast.

2 Less is more 

It is not about how much information you can give. It is about how much information your audience can receive and remember. 

No one will ever complain that your presentation is too short. But you can be assured that they will complain if your presentation is too long. 

3 Sell the ‘why’ first

Context is more important than the content. Your audience won’t be open to hear the “what” and the “how” until they are sold by the “why”. 

Start by answering the “why’s” in your audience’s heads: “Why should I care?”, “Why is this important to me?” and “Why does your message matter?”

4 Every presentation is a persuasion opportunity

A presentation is a lousy way of dumping information on your audience. It would be faster for them to just read it. 

Instead, your role is to persuade your audience to change their preferences or their perspectives. Your words, your slides and your props are merely tools to help you achieve this objective.

5 Your audience is king

People do not come to your presentation to exalt you. They come to find out what you can do for them. 

Success as a presenter means that you help them solve their most pressing problems, you share insights that will make their lives better and, most importantly, you leave them better off than before.

6 Connect before you influence

People buy people first. Before your audience buys your idea, your product or your service, they have to first buy you. Only when they like you, trust you and believe in you, will they buy what you are saying. 

So before you attempt to influence, first connect by speaking their lingo. Even better, show them that you are on their side. 

7 Help your audience see what you say

Words have the power to motivate change and inspire results only when your audience can see what you say in their minds. It is the visual images you paint in their minds that rouse their emotions and energise them into action. 

8 Obey the 90/20/8 principle 

This principle was first introduced by Bob Pike, an adult-learning specialist. 

To keep your audience engaged, involve them every eight minutes and change the channel of information delivery every 20 minutes. 

Also bear in mind that no presentation should go more than 90 minutes without giving the audience a physical break.  

9 Fact tells but stories sell 

Stories are real. They are easy to tell and relate. They are memorable. They are emotional. They give third-party credibility. And above it all, stories have the power to move people into action. 

Perhaps that’s why the late Bill Gove (“the father of the professional speaking”) summarised the essence of public speaking into six words: Tell a story, make a point. 

10 Be authentic

Your audience will choose an authentic speaker over a polished speaker every single time. 

Make sure you believe every single word that you say and, more importantly, walk the talk. 

Ultimately, what is going to give weight to your presentation is not your stories or your slides. It is you.

Article by Eric Feng. He helps executives, sales people and C-suite corporate leaders present with confidence and charisma. He is also the author of a book on presentation skills, Get To The Point. For more information and resources on public speaking, visit www.ericfeng.com