Three Tips that Develop Your Presentation Skills

Try these tips to deliver better presentations at work, PTA meetings, or social functions. You'll notice that the main concerns are not about what you say (content), but how you say it (stage presence).

1) Create personal presence.

Most professionals have some level of expertise in delivering presentations because speaking and writing are the most visible of all skills. So to stand out from the crowd, you have to recognize and develop the personal presence to command attention and gain buy-in. Personal presence involves four things: a) body language--what people see; b) your language--the words you choose and the way you deliver them; c) your ability to think on your feet; and d) your actions (character, track record, results).

2) Engage your audience; don't lecture them.

The higher you go in an organization, the more your presentations will involve give-and-take. That is, you no longer can expect to walk in and do a data dump. You must compel your group to hear you out, be willing and able to discover and address their reservations and concerns, and finally move them to action--and make them happy about it.

3) Anticipate questions--and have a complete response ready.

Nothing showcases your expertise--or destroys your credibility--like your performance during the Q&A period. You either shine or sabotage the rest of your efforts by how well you think on your feet. Many people fear Q&A but think they can't prepare for this part of the presentation. Of course you can. Identify the tough questions you'll face and prepare a solid response, with detailed support and stories to make your answer memorable.

Author of 42 books (Simon & Schuster/Pocket, Warner, Random House, and McGraw-Hill), Dianna Booher, CSP, CPAE, delivers keynotes, breakout sessions, and training on communication and life-balance issues. Her latest books: Speak with Confidence®, Your Signature Life®, Your Signature Work®, E-Writing, From Contact to Contract, and Communicate with Confidence®. For more information on Dianna and her programs, visit or contact her firm, Booher Consultants, Inc., at 800-342-6621.