How to Have a Positive Impact: Practical Presentation Approaches

Think back and consider what it took for you to feel comfortable with a new situation, change, or a new process. It helped to trust the person who led the initiative, and this trust arose because we all admire people who come across as knowledgable, relaxed, entertaining, and warm. For you to create a positive impression, you want to make sure that you generate these core impressions with your audience. These attributes are fundamental regardless of the message, and without them, you will experience greater difficulties in getting people to relate to you and your messages.

The techniques listed below will help you develop better presentations, and for practice, use them in informal settings with people familiar to you. The more you practice the more comfortable you will become in front of larger audiences in unfamiliar situations.

Directly link your main topic to who you are. Although people may know something about you, say a little more. In one or two sentences explain how your background matters–to frame the topic for people to easily digest.

Connect. No matter how big the crowd, help everyone in the audience feel like you are speaking with him or her personally. Try to make eye contact with a number of individual audience members, looking many of them in the eyes.

Help people contact you. Start with your email on the opening slide, and keep it there for a while.

Give them something to take home by saying, “You can use this easily tomorrow by doing the following… ” Inspiration is helpful, but you want to have something tangible to offer for people immediately.

It’s good to repeat. To explain a principle, first explain it then give two examples. At the end of your talk, go over the principle and briefly highlight how its use.

Share a story. We all relate to stories. When you want to explain something, translate it into a story. If the story is something that happened to you, great, and if the story is funny, even greater.

Entertain. People are spending time listening to you away from something else, and they will listen more closely when they enjoy themselves. It’s okay to begin with something tangential to the topic as long as it’s entertaining.

Don’t talk too long. You are borrowing your audience’s time. Your goal is not to use every available minute. It’s much better to end early rather than late.