Leadership Series: Presenting

Posted on Apr 30, 2016 in Entrepreneur, San Diego Lawyer, Small Business, Success | Comments Off on Leadership Series: Presenting

Leadership Series: Presenting


You know how it feels. You walk up to the microphone, your knees are a bit shaky, your stomach feels unsettled, and you’re having trouble catching your breath. Presenting can be stressful and intimidating but it is also a huge opportunity to move the masses and incite change.

With the help of LifeHack columnist, Scott Young, today we’ll cover nine presenting tips that will help you prepare for your presentation, reduce nerves and speak and communicate effectively.

Preparing your presentation

  1. Put Yourself in the Audience – When writing a speech, see it from the audiences perspective. What might they not understand? What might seem boring? Use WIIFM (What’s In It For Me) to guide you.
  2. 15 Word Summary – Can you summarize your idea in fifteen words? If not, rewrite it and try again. Speaking is an inefficient medium for communicating information, so know what the important fifteen words are so they can be repeated.
  3. Speeches are About Stories – If your presentation is going to be a longer one, explain your points through short stories, quips and anecdotes. Great speakers know how to use a story to create an emotional connection between ideas for the audience.


Before you speak

  1. Come Early, Really Early – Don’t fumble with PowerPoint or hooking up a projector when people are waiting for you to speak. Come early, scope out the room, run through your slideshow and make sure there won’t be any glitches. Preparation can do a lot to remove your speaking anxiety.
  2. Practice power poses to fight being nervous – Your body language and breathing patterns can do wonders to decrease stress and get your head on straight. Before speaking, makes sure to sit/stand in open positions, not hunched over looking at your phone or checking email. Here’s a fantastic TED Talk on the subject. This is a huge key to projecting confidence and reducing nervousness.


As you present

  1. Breathe In Not Out – Feeling the urge to use presentation killers like ‘um,’ ‘ah,’ or ‘you know’? Replace those with a pause taking a short breath in. The pause may seem a bit awkward, but the audience will barely notice it.
  2. Don’t Apologize – Apologies are only useful if you’ve done something wrong. Don’t use them to excuse incompetence or humble yourself in front of an audience. Don’t apologize for your nervousness or a lack of preparation time. Most audience members can’t detect your anxiety, so don’t draw attention to it.
  3. Do Apologize if You’re Wrong – One caveat to the above rule is that you should apologize if you are late or shown to be incorrect.
  4. Have Fun – Sounds impossible? With a little practice you can inject your passion for a subject into your presentations. Enthusiasm is contagious.


Overall, it’s important that you prepare well, consider your audience, and remember why you’re up there. We hope these nine tips will help you get ready to ace your next big presentation. Good luck!

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