Bite The Bullets: Honing Your Presentation Skills, Part 2

Kim PierceallCommunicating and Writing

No Robot Presentations

In Part 1, we urged you to carefully consider your audience, your message and your toolbox in the initial planning stage for making a presentation. Additional presentation skills touched on getting creative with images while keeping text and transitions clean and clear. Part 2 wraps up with what happens at the event itself.

3. CONNECT WITH PARTICIPANTS: Engage. Be a person, not a robot.

No matter what your style or comfort level with public speaking, you can learn ways to connect and inspire. Never just read your slides or presentation. In fact, treat your visual presentation differently from what you are saying AND from any printed materials you provide.

  • HANDOUTS: Your handouts should offer something different from the presentation itself. Suck your notes content back out of PowerPoint and into a Word document. Add some resources, clean it up a bit and include your name, company logo and date. Provide handouts only if it will improve the experience and persuade people to your point of view.
  • QUESTIONS: Open up your session with a couple of questions to help you confirm or improve your understanding of your audiences’ needs and “come from”. If you are speaking to a large group, just ask for a show of hands.  Be clear about whether or not you will take questions during the talk.
  • FOLLOW UP: Allow for some follow-up to your presentation. Offer to provide additional resources via email or invite people to follow you on Twitter or your business page on Facebook for additional tips or information.

When you concentrate on your audience and your message, you can put together your support materials more efficiently and effectively.


  • Beyond Bullet Points: Using Microsoft PowerPoint to Create Presentations that Inform, Motivate and Inspire, 2005.
  • Presentation Zen: Simple Ideas on Presentation Design and Delivery, Garr Reynolds, 2008
  • Cutting Edge PowerPoint 2007 for Dummies, Geetest Bajaj, 2007
  • PowerPoint 2007 for Starters: The Missing Manual, E. A. Vander Veer, 2007
  • BIGSTOCK, (inexpensive, royalty-free photos)