20 Tips for Delivering a Successful Presentation

Presenting to Group

Presenting to Group

Have you been asked to speak or deliver a presentation at an upcoming event? Once you have accepted the invitation to speak or present, you need to start preparing. Where do you begin?

Successful presenters follow a process. They have a system which they have developed over the years. They use a checklist of Best Practices to help ensure that they deliver successful presentations every time!

So, you may be asking … “Where do I get a list of tips? Has someone created a checklist that I can use?”

Fortunately, you have come to the right location! I have created a checklist of “20 Tips for a Successful Presentation” that you can download – for free!

Click on this link to download my 20 Tips for a Successful Presentation as an Adobe PDF.

Here is my list of the 20 Tips that I use whenever I speak or deliver a presentation. These are also the tips that I share with my clients when I coach them to deliver successful presentations.  You will learn about:

  • How to discover your “Words-per-Minute” (WPM) Count
  • The “B-L-O-T” (Bottom Line On Top) Technique
  • The “Power of the Pause”

And 17 additional tips. Be sure to download the complete checklist  of  “20 Tips for a Successful Presentation” to get more information about each tip:

Tips While Preparing Your Presentation

  • Tip #1 – Prepare with your audience in mind
  • Tip #2 – Begin your presentation with “The End in Mind”
  • Tip #3 – Use the classic model to structure your presentation
  • Tip #4 – Prepare by writing out your presentation

Click on this link to download your copy of my 20 Tips for a Successful Presentation

Tips for Delivering Your Presentation

  • Tip #5 – Memorize two sections of your presentation
  • Tip #6 – Communicate and confirm your equipment needs in advance
  • Tip #7 – Get comfortable with the physical setting
  • Tip #8 – Your audience will “Tune-in / Tune out” during your presentation
  • Tip #9 – Remember the “Power of the Pause!”
  • Tip #10 – Maintain Eye-contact with your audience
  • Tip #11 – Pace your presentation

Follow this link to download a PDF of my 20 Tips for a Successful Presentation

Tips for PowerPoint

PowerPoint Tips

Tips for Creating PowerPoint Slides

  • Tip #12 – You are the Presentation!
  • Tip #13 – Do not write complete sentences on your slides!
  • Tip #14 – Take advantage of the “White Space” on your slides
  • Tip #15 – Choose appropriate visual images

Want to get a copy of this checklist – complete with details for each of these tips? Click here to download 20 Tips for a Successful Presentation as a PDF.

Do you want to learn how to use PowerPoint effectively? Click on this link to learn more about my DVD-ROM, “The 50 Best Tips for PowerPoint 2007”

Tips for Engaging Your Audience

  • Tip #16 – Phrases to avoid
  • Tip #17 – Phrases to substitute
  • Tip #18 Encourage audience questions
  • Tip #19 – Audiences remember stories

Get your free copy of this checklist. Click on this link to download 20 Tips for a Successful Presentation

Tip for Delivering a Successful Presentation

  • Tip #20 – Visualize your Successful Presentation!

So, there is the checklist that I use. Be sure to download your copy to learn more about each of these “20 Tips for a Successful Presentation.”

Do you have a favorite tip? What works for you? Add your comment in the area below this article. Or you can send it to me via email: danny@thecompanyrocks.com

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Tracking my WPM Count

For my video blog entry yesterday – “Which Presentation Will You Deliver?” – I used a script. I am actually enjoying the discipline of writing and reading the script for these blog entries. My preferred style is to use an outline to guide me as I deliver my presentations. However, I find the “permanence” of an Internet blog demands a more disciplined approach.

I am not a perfectionist. When recording my video blogs, I do a “straight take” – no pauses and no editing.  Of course, I abandon a recording that contains obvious “flubs” or false starts. But, I am content to publish a video blog entry that is less than perfect. I really don’t have the time to go back an re-record the occasional “vocal blemish.”

How long?

My biggest concern is the length of a video blog post. I do not want to condense my posts to fit some arbitrary time limit. My feeling is that if I have something to say, I should post what I want to say – adapting my delivery to fit the chosen media. If my message is compelling, a viewer will stay engaged. And, hopefully, return for more. If not … well, that is my problem. Only time, tracking and feedback from my viewers will help me to find the correct balance between content and time limit.

Since I have been using a script for my recent videos, I have been able to track my Words-per-minute (WPM) count. For my “Which Presentation Will You Give” entry, the script contains 1,130 words. The video is 7 minutes and 17 seconds. This gives me a wpm count of @ 160. This is my normal speaking rate. This feels like a comfortable rate – to me. How does it feel it you?

“Eye-Opening” Experience

Recording my presentations has been “eye-opening” for me. Yes, I deliberately used the description “eye-opening.” I am paying more attention to the graphics and text that I choose for each slide in the PowerPoint presentation. I want to ensure that each slide serves a specific purpose.  Reinforcing my speech and not replacing it. Guiding my audience and not distracting them from my content.

When I do a “live” presentation I never get to see how my slides interact with my speech. Recording  these short video blog posts allows me to see and analyze the presentation. Of course, there is a missing ingredient – the audience. You.

So please give me your feedback. What do you think? Do I speak too fast or too slow for you to understand? Do I talk too much or for too long? Is the video blog format useful – for you? What topics would you like to see?

You can email me – danny@thecompanyrocks.com – or add your comments below. I welcome your thoughts.

News! My new DVD, “The 50 Best Tips for PowerPoint 2007” is available for purchase. Visit my online store for details.

An experiment – do you prefer the written article or the spoken PowerPoint?

The Written Word

Yesterday, I published an article – “How Many Words per Minute (WPM) Do You Speak?”

The Spoken Word

Today, I recorded a PowerPoint presentation based on that article – “Did I Get My WPM Count Just Right?

Both postings discuss the same topic – How fast or slow do you speak? What is your spoken words-per-minute (WPM) count. Each posting offers a different experience.

I had a different experience while creating and recording the PowerPoint presentation. I needed to add extra words to assist the viewer. Both the video and the article are designed to “stand alone.” However, I felt that the video “needed more explanation.” I had to remember that the viewer could hit the “back button control” on their web browser at any moment!

Write Your Presentations / Practice Speaking Your Words

Perhaps it was just the experience of speaking my written words aloud. A practice that I recommend that all writers and editors try at least occasionally. Perhaps it was just me “wishing that I had taken more time in editing yesterday’s article.” A case of “writer’s remorse?

I hope that you will take some time to read the article AND to view the PowerPoint presentation. I welcome your feedback. Which medium did you prefer – and why? What would you like to see more of? Less of?

Please add your comments below. Or you can email your comments to me – danny@thecompanyrocks.com

Did I get My WPM Count Just Right?

As a follow-up to yesterday’s article, I produced a PowerPoint Presentation on the topic of “words-per-minute( WPM) when speaking. Watch – and Listen – this video recording. Am I speaking “too fast”- for you? “Too slow” – for you? Or, is my WPM count “Just right” – for you?

Yesterday’s written article is 515 words in length. At a normal WPM count of 150, that would make it @ 3 minutes and 45 seconds long. That is a good length for broadcast via the Internet in my experience.

As I was creating the PowerPoint slide presentation, I realized that I would have to add a few words to the narration. I wanted to ensure that it would make sense to viewers watching the presentation- even with the added visual aids and the graphics on the slides. And, of course, I did deviate from the script occasionally. As best I can determine, this presentation contains 600 words and the video lasts 5 minutes. So my WPM is 120.

This is much slower than my normal speaking rate (close to 160 WPM.) I wasn’t trying to purposely slow down. After three practice runs, this is the pace that felt natural to me.

What do you think? Is my WPM “Just right” – for you?

Please share your comments with our readers and viewers below.

News! My new DVD, “The 50 Best Tips for PowerPoint 2007” is available for purchase. Visit my online store for details.

How Many Words per Minute (WPM) Do You Speak?

Most people discover my website by putting these “keywords:” “How Many Words-per-Minute(WPM)?” into their search-engine.

In preparing this article, I thought of the children’s bedtime story, “Goldilocks and the Three Bears.”

  • “Not too fast”
  • “Not too slow”
  • “Just Right”

“Just the right speaking rate” – so that your audience understands your subject, your words, and your message.

What is My Speaking Rate? / What is My WPM Count?

 This is faster than the normal range of 120 – 150 wpm. According to professional speech coach Joan Detz:

“President John F. Kennedy was a notoriously fast talker – often topping 200 words per minute. You certainly don’t want to be that extreme. But, in general, talking a bit fast is better than talking too slow. Why? Speed projects charisma. Slowness projects lethargy and can frustrate listeners.”

– “It’s Not What You Say, It’s How You Say It.”

President Kennedy gave memorable speeches.  Nearly 50 years later, I am still moved whenever I hear a recording of his most famous speeches. JFK projected “vigor!” He also used short sentences. And he used powerful “action” words. He wrote and spoke using an “active voice.” He had a focused message. And, he certainly projected “charisma!”

JFK’s WPM count was “Just Right.”

So, it is not simply your word count  – the number of words-per-minute that you speak – that matters. Your topic matters. And so does your choice of words, and your manner of delivery. Take all factors together and you will determine what WPM count is “just right.”

Just look to your audience. They will tell you:

  • Is your audience nodding in agreement? Paying attention? Maintaining eye contact with you as you speak? Your WPM is “Just Right.”
  • Is your audience falling asleep, yawning or looking at the clock? Your WPM is probably “too slow.”  And you and your subject may be boring – to them.
  • Is your audience straining to hear your words? Are they trying, too hard, to concentrate? Your WPM is probably “too fast.”

In “Secrets of Successful Speakers,” best-selling author, Lilly Walters has this to say:

“The listener thinks much faster than you talk. People generally speak at 150 words per minute, but think at 600 to 700. So your listeners are able to jump ahead and around the topic. They start adding in all kinds of factors from their own lives and experiences that have very little to do with what you’re talking about. It makes the pieces of information they are juggling in their brains monumental to consider!”

One proven technique that memorable speakers employ is “The Power of the Pause.”

“That impressive, eloquent, progressive silence which often achieves a desired effect where no combination of words howsoever felicitous could accomplish it.”

– Mark Twain

Recall the words that (fast-talking) President Kennedy delivered in his 1961 Inaugural Address:

“Ask not what your country can do for you. (Pause, Pause) Ask (Pause, Pause) what you can do for your country.”

As you play those words back in your mind you realize that that is an ideal example of “The Power of the Pause.”

Choose your words carefully. Practice your delivery. Check-in with your audience. That is how many words-per-minute you should speak!

Then, you will be “Just Right!”

News! My new DVD, “The 50 Best Tips for PowerPoint 2007” is available for purchase. Visit my online store for details.

Related Video

Speak at a comfortable rate during your presentation

I just recorded a new video PowerPoint Presentation for one of my websites. Since I intended to post this video on the website, I wanted to be sure that the total length did not exceed 4 minutes. In Internet-time, that can seem like an eternity!

I had a story to tell – promoting my services as a trainer. So I wanted to make it interesting. I want viewers to watch the entire video – it comes in at 3 1/2 minutes. And, of course, I wanted to conclude the video with a strong “call to action” – contact me to discuss my training services.

Here are the steps that I followed to create and record the PowerPoint video:

  1. I wrote a short story board – Opening slide, Introduce me, What I do, How I do it, etc.
  2. This came out to 8 slides. I then created them in PowerPoint.
  3. I made sure that I followed the “Four-by-Four” rule with my bullet points. Only 3 of the 8 slides contain bullet points.
  4. I wrote my script. This was an easy step since I had been writing my script “in my head” as I created the PowerPoint slides.
  5. The script come in at 570 words. I read it aloud several times and then I timed it.
  6. My first reading – at performance level – came in at 3 1/2 minutes. That is a speaking rate of 163 words-per-minute (wpm). A little fast – but it felt comfortable to me.
  7. I made a test (audio) recording and I was happy with the script. I made a few changes – where I stumbled over a word or two.
  8. Now it was time to record the PowerPoint presentation (video & audio together.) I added “Heading 2” styles to my script at each point where I was to advance the slide.
  9. I had 2 false starts. Because I had written my script and rehearsed prior to the recording, I finished the project in just 2 takes.

Give me your feedback after watching the video. What do you think? Did I speak too fast? Was my story clear? etc.

Add your comments below.

And, yes, you can contact me if you want to engage my services!


News! My new DVD, “The 50 Best Tips for PowerPoint 2007” is available for purchase. Visit my online store for details.

Words per minute – How fast do you speak?

Our normal rate of speech – the number of words per minute (wpm) that we use – is between 120 and 150 wpm. When we are nervous or excited, we speak faster and our wpm count increases. The converse applies when we are tired or when we speak more deliberately – we use fewer wpm.

My normal wpm count is between 135 and 160. What is yours? If you don’t know, how can you find out? And why does it matter? Here’s why:

  1. So that your audience will understand what you are saying
  2. So that you can gauge how long or how short your talk will be – before you actually give your talk!

Speaking -live – is much more difficult than writing, in my opinion. In order to be an effective speaker you must be aware of how fast or how slow you speak. It is your responsibility to make sure that your audience understands what you are saying. Your audience must grasp your ideas as you present them – in real time. The first time!

When you write, you can go back and edit your thoughts. Rewrite your sentences before you publish your article. When you speak, you do not have that luxury. You can not re-do your spoken remarks when they are delivered live.

And when you speak, your voice must come alive. You voice must grab and keep your audiences attention. You need good vocal energy. You need to project authority and authenticity if you want your audience to stay tuned-in to your presentation. And this usually increases your wpm count. So you must guard against racing through your presentation.

Recording these video tutorials has been very instructive – to me! I get a chance to hear myself speak. I get a chance to see how long it takes me to present an idea. And… I have asked a few colleagues to critique these early recordings. As a result, I have received some excellent feedback. And I am making some changes.

Ideally, I want to keep the length of these video lessons short. Three minutes is ideal. Five minutes is too long. I want my audience to stay tuned-in. I don’t want them to tune-out before I make my point. When speaking, I must get to the point quickly without speaking too quickly. I must be aware of how many words per minute I use. And not waste time – nitehr my time nor my audience’s.

In preparing for today’s video lesson on my MS Excel blog, I wrote out my script. I read the script aloud several times and revised it. I timed myself as I spoke the script. I did a word count. And at 702 words divided by my 135 wpm speaking rate, this talk was coming in at 5 minutes and 20 seconds.

Too long! Too much content! What could I trim? What should I eliminate? I need to cut out at least 1 minute of talking in order to keep my audience tuned-in.

After several revisions I was ready to “go live” and record this lesson. I did not want to read my script. And I did not have too. I had rehearsed it sufficiently. I felt comfortable and confident.

The result – a 4 minute and 10 second video. I was happy. And I think that my audience will find this video informative and engaging.

Now mind you, I know this topic – in Excel – very well. I have taught it many times in individual and classroom settings. But this was the first time I was recording the lesson.

The lesson for me – I can always improve. So can you. But it requires practice – before you speak!

News! My new DVD, “The 50 Best Tips for PowerPoint 2007” is available for purchase. Visit my online store for details.

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