How to Give an Engaging Presentation: 10 Tips

May 30, 2023
Create Effective Presentations

Great presentations captivate, inform, and inspire. Regardless of your experience, our 10 practical tips will help hone your skills, ensuring your audience remains engaged and leaves inspired. Let's dive into effective presenting!

High-quality presentations captivate the audience, impart valuable insights, and leave a lasting impression.

This might seem like an uphill task, especially if you are not a seasoned speaker. These tips are for everyone, from first-time presenters to experienced speakers looking to improve. No matter your level of expertise, you can benefit from these tips.

This post contains 10 practical tips to improve your presentation skills. Keeping your audience engaged, understanding your message, and motivating them is our goal. We want to help you inspire and motivate your audience.

How to Give a Great Presentation: 10 Tips

Presenting effectively involves careful preparation, understanding your audience, and delivering your message in an engaging manner. Here are some popular tips that can help you give a great presentation:

  1. Know Your Audience
  2. Prepare Well
  3. Write and Stick to a Script
  4. Create an Engaging Slide Deck
  5. Start Strong
  6. Storytelling
  7. Simplify Complex Ideas
  8. Engage with the Audience
  9. Have a Clear Call-to-Action
  10. Handle Q&As Carefully

1. Know Your Audience 

Why should you tailor your presentation to your audience members? Well, it's all about keeping them interested and making sure they understand what you're saying. If you match your presentation to what your audience finds relevant, they're more likely to pay attention to and remember your message.

Plus, they're more likely to do something with the info you've shared. In short, shaping your presentation to your audience makes it more powerful and memorable.

2. Prepare Well 

Spend enough time researching, planning, and practicing your presentation. Familiarize yourself with the material. Become comfortable speaking on the topic so you don’t need to rely on notes.

Preparing and practicing your remarks is essential for a successful virtual presentation. Make sure to put enough time into it so you feel confident and relaxed on the day. This should be the foundation of your virtual presentation toolkit.

Make sure you have given yourself enough time to do this. If you do, you will be more relaxed on the day. There are no quick fixes for this one. Investing time and energy ahead of presenting will be beneficial when it is time to present. This investment will pay dividends.

3. Use a Script

Firstly, develop your presentation's script, encompassing all your key points and their sequence. Your script can be written in different styles. You may prefer to have a full script that you can memorize. Alternatively, you may prefer to have bullet points as a guide for improvisation. 

Craft your script before your slides, ensuring a content-rich presentation rather than a visually pleasing yet shallow one. Be sure to integrate your gathered notes and data from the planning phase into your script.

4. Create an Engaging Slide Deck 

According to our 2023 State of Meetings report, over half of business leaders claimed low engagement was their biggest meeting pain point. Creating a well-designed slide deck can help transform complex information into easily digestible visuals, enhancing audience understanding and engagement.  

Moreover, a visually appealing slide deck can stimulate interest, keeping your audience invested throughout your presentation. Remember, your slides are not just for show - they're tools to drive your message home.

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5. Start Strong 

The beginning of your presentation sets the tone for the rest of your talk. Start with a compelling story, a surprising statistic, or a provocative question to grab your audience's attention. We have more on this later on.

6. Tell a Story

Stories engage audiences on an emotional level. Incorporating relevant stories into your presentation can help make your points more memorable.

Being a great public speaker often means having a dynamic, energetic, and attention-grabbing performance. This is often what people think of when they consider the idea. But trying too hard to “perform” can result in a presentation that is rushed and chaotic. 

Speak slowly and clearly. This may seem counterintuitive when addressing an audience whose time and attention you want to keep. However, speaking slowly and clearly makes it easier for the audience to understand and follow you. This will help you keep their attention.

7. Simplify Complex Ideas

If you're presenting on a complex subject, break it down into smaller parts that your audience can easily understand. Use metaphors or analogies if necessary.

8. Engage Your Audience

Ask questions, encourage participation, or use interactive elements to make your presentation a two-way conversation rather than a monologue. This will make your presentation more engaging and help keep your audience's attention.

Engaging your audience is key to transforming your presentation from good to great. It can be the deciding factor between a forgettable and a memorable talk. Get your audience involved from the start with an icebreaker.

This will grab their attention and maintain their focus. Intersperse interactive elements throughout your talk to add interest. Finally, finish with a Q&A to clear up any uncertainties. This will elevate your delivery.

9. Have a Clear Call-to-Action 

What do you want your audience to do after your presentation? Make sure you clearly communicate this at the end.

10. Handle Q&As Carefully 

You can't predict every question, but you can prepare for common ones. If you don't know an answer, it's okay to say so. You can offer to look up the information and get back to the person later.

How to not be nervous for a presentation 

Nervous before public speaking or a presentation? Here's how to calm down. First, prepare and practice; familiarity breeds confidence. Deep breathing can help slow your heart rate and relax your body. Visualizing success can foster a positive outlook. 

Try progressive muscle relaxation, where you tense and relax each muscle group, starting from your toes and working up to your head. Positive self-talk can also be effective; remind yourself of past successes. Also, consider a short mindfulness exercise or meditation to center yourself just before you go on.

The final piece of advice we have is to start with something that will help you build confidence and get you into the flow immediately.  

How to start a presentation

Kicking off a presentation with confidence can have a massive impact on its success. One effective strategy is to use an icebreaker. This could be a relevant joke, a personal story, or a simple activity that involves your audience. 

Icebreakers not only lighten the mood but also allow you to connect with your audience on a personal level, helping to build your confidence. Remember, audiences respond to authenticity and passion, so let your natural enthusiasm for your topic shine through from the very start.

How many slides do you need?

Honestly, there is no one size fits all approach here and this depends on how long you will be speaking and the topic you will be presenting. A general rule would be not to over or underdo it. Don’t go overboard and have in excess of 40 slides for a 20-minute talk, and don’t cram everything into one slide despite being on stage for an hour. 

Need help making things your presentation more interactive and engaging?

If you are in need of some help or maybe just some inspiration, then we have everything you need to create interactive, engaging, and memorable presentations.

Browse our series of free presentation templates if you don't feel like starting from scratch. And if you're ready to dive right in and put all of these tips to the test . . .

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