Presenting for success or death by Powerpoint – Carole Ann Rice shares the secrets of delivering a message with meaning


Article provided by life coach, Carole Ann Rice

Unsurprisingly fear of death comes second place to public speaking in surveys looking at our most dreaded nightmares.

Some of us have to walk that plank into shark infested waters on a weekly basis.

Whether you are the CEO or first rung executive, giving presentations is increasingly becoming part of everyday working life.  It could be delivering a corporate call to arms to a conference hall of international delegates or simply a one to one presentation with a potential client: personal impact is everything.

Yet, so few people realise that instead of engaging the audience they are committing death by PowerPoint.  Like a modern day opium for the masses, at best Power Point gives your audience a chance to dribble and at worst lose the will to live.

We’ve all suffered the interminable drone-on that accompanies endless facts and figures and the accompanying ream of print outs that follow.  All  about as impactful as a weak tea on a wet Wednesday

A study by the University of New South Wales proves that this contemporary crutch doesn’t engage because as humans we process information best in verbal or written form but not both simultaneously.

What would the point be of a presentation if the desired outcome was to lose business and alienate your audience?  Yet when was the last time you recall hearing an inspiring and memorable speaker?

Unknowingly our delivery styles can be an instant turn off that seriously jeopardizes a company’s image.  That unconscious jangling of change in your pockets, umming and erring, speaking in jargon or battering the audience with meaningless graphs and statistics is sure fire way of losing clients and alienating audiences.

Investing in presentation skills development pays untold dividends.  A good coach would work on drawing out the individual’s natural style and flair; not turning them into robots speaking by rote.  Working with a coach to look at what the desired outcome of the presentation may be, the action you want your audience to take and what to do when you’re faced with the heckler from hell, are just some of the things that can make the difference between success and an irreconcilable failure.

Coach yourself into speaking for success

  • Know your subject to speak with absolute confidence.  An audience can spot a busker
  • Don’t be afraid of silences, it allows time to digest information, it adds drama and helps you focus
  • Use humorous stories, ice breakers or a dramatic piece of information to kick off your presentation.
  • Keep the messages brief and easy to understand and don’t be afraid to frequently re-cap.
  • Remember to breathe slowly and speak as you would in a normal conversation
  • Be passionate about what you are delivering
  • Ask rhetorical questions of the audience and encourage participation
  • Don’t hand around notes to read while you are speaking
  • Use images, unusual props or sound effects to add personality to your presentation
  • Have a great finale and leave on a thought-provoking high.

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