Tag Archives: Tips

100 Presentation Choices

especially powerful
Choose well, for an especially powerful presentation

Delivering an especially powerful presentation means choosing . . . it means making 100 presentation choices.

Of course, it may not be exactly 100.

It could be 120.

Or perhaps 80.

Regardless, every time you deliver a presentation, you choose repeatedly.

Dozens of times.

And most often, you are unaware of the silent, invisible choices you make.  Instead, your presentation simply unspools on its own, chaotic, willy-nilly . . . sometimes for the good, more often badly.

Rather than conceive of the presentation as a series of choices, many folks view the presentation as an organic whole.

As something we simply “do.”

It’s presented as something that can be conducted via a series of “tips.”  You’ve seen the articles on presentation tips.

Or business presenting is discussed as a “soft skill,” something you can pick up along the way.  Perhaps in one of the ubiquitous and uninspired “communications classes.”

We receive vague instructions in a communications class, a place where mystification of the presentation is perpetuated, the myth of the “soft skill” is maintained, and presentation folk wisdom reigns . . .

“Make eye contact!”

“Move around when you talk!”

“Don’t put your hand in your pocket!”

Advice that is obscurantist at its best and can be downright wrong at its worst.

Not a “Soft Skill”

The delivery of the Business Presentation is not a “soft skill.”  Approximately 80 percent of the presentation process is definable as a series of choices each of us must make.

And if you choose badly, you deliver a horrendous presentation.

How can you choose wisely if you don’t even know what the choices are?  Much less the wise choice at each step along the way?

We seek easy solutions, the quick fix, the “secret” to turn a drab, staid, listless presentation into one that brims with vigor, zest, and elan.

An especially powerful presentation.

especially powerful presentationsFailing that, perhaps just something that can flog a bit of life into our tired efforts.

One evening, we may see a memorable, delightful, scintillating presentation.

It’s a show that engages us, that sparkles with memorable visuals and that implants core ideas and powerful notions in our minds.  A great presentation!

Why was it a great presentation?

Many folks answer with one – maybe two reasons.  This is akin to medieval alchemists searching for a method to transform lead into gold.

A shortcut to wealth.

And so we contrive abstractions and unsatisfactory responses:

The speaker was interesting.  The topic was relevant and au courant.  Torn from today’s headlines!

It was the audience . . . he had a good audience!

But none of these easy answers yield something that we can actually use . . . something we can operationalize in our show.  This is because no easy answer exists.

No one reason.

No single technique.

There is no business presentation alchemy.  Except in the notion that we must get lots of things right.

The superb business presenter does 100 things right, while the bad business presenter does 100 things wrong.

What are the “100 Presentation Choices?”

Is it exactly 100?

Of course not, no more than great writing consists in getting exactly 100 things right, instead of getting them wrong.

For any talk, it could be 90, or it could be 150.  Or something else.

The “100 things” trope suffices to convey that great presentations are planned and orchestrated according to set principles that can be learned, and those principles consist in proven practices.

Lots of them.

Practices that replace unthinking habits.

Techniques of posture, voice, syntax, gestures, topic, presentation structure, your expression, confidence, your movement . . . all of these done well or done poorly combine to yield either an especially powerful presentation . . .

. . . or a dud.

Especially Powerful
Scott’s Lessons: An especially powerful source for Abraham Lincoln

Go to Scott’s Lessons, the book that inspired and taught Abraham Lincoln as he grew into one of America’s great orators, and you will find a wealth of powerful techniques to transform even the most mundane of speakers into a champion.

More than 100 things?


The important lesson is that great presenting is assembled from the verbal and non-verbal construction materials we select.

Lots of mistakes make for awful shows.  But getting those 100 things right can yield a show that’s spectacular for no single, discernible reason.

That’s the power of synergy.

Take just one aspect of your show – the way you stand.  Have you ever thought about it?  Where you stand?  How you stand?

If you’ve never given it thought, then you’re likely doing it wrong.

To learn how to adopt the perfect (for you) stance, go here and the secret shall be revealed.  And you’ll have learned a handful of the essential 100 presentation choices to launch you on your way to deliver especially powerful presentations and to develop a personal competitive advantage.

The next step, of course, is to actually do it.  In your next presentation.

More of the 100 Presentation Choices that constitute especially powerful business presentations here.

Business Presentation Tips . . . Oh the Humanity!

Presentation Tips
Presentation Tips can’t make you a God

It takes a long time to become a powerful and effective business presenter . . . and it takes much more effort than simply reading the occasional article offering presentation “tips.”

This should be an intuitive point.

Nonetheless, such articles sprout unmolested over the landscape.

And I suppose they can serve a purpose . . .

If perchance they help even a single person elevate their presentation game, then let a thousand presentation tips articles bloom.

In fact, it seems several thousands have bloomed.

Many of them promise the moon and the stars.

For instance . . .

Godly Presentation Tips

I forever stand in awe of the hubris of the short presentation article entitled “10 Tips to Be a Presentation GOD.”

This “God” motif occupies a certain niche in the business presentation genre of tip.  A book even carries that title:  How to be a Presentation God

Here’s a review from a website offering a learning event based on the God book

We’ve all been there: an Excel spreadsheet smeared across a presentation slide and someone mumbling into a microphone while you check your email just to stay awake.  It’s presentation hell. But it doesn’t have to be this way.  In How to Be a Presentation God, Scott Schwertly shares effective step-by-step secrets for delivering transcendent presentations with an easy-to-implement approach focused on engaging content, personal storytelling and effective design elements — the holy trinity that leads to godly delivery.

What chutzpuh, if nothing else.

I think not.

If presenting were that easy, wouldn’t we have a whole lot more “presentation gods” striding our corporate corridors?

That said, I recognize that much of the hype in such headlines is simply to get folks to read the piece.

And the over-promise of a headline does not obviate the fact that likely some good advice might be buried somewhere inside.

You simply must dig for the gold . . . and then do something with it.

Presentation Tips Gold

Here is one such article, in which the author details the struggles of his son giving his first major talk in front of hundreds of investors.  We all respond well to uplifting stories.  Stories in which the hero overcomes great odds.

And those of us in the business presentation enterprise face great odds with every presentation.  And if we don’t recognize the stakes for what they are and prepare accordingly . . . we have already lost the game.

As with most such pieces, it over-promises.  The title alone gives it away:

How To Go From Being a Disaster—To a Great Speaker

You know or you should know that you don’t go from disastrous speaking to becoming a “great speaker” from reading one article on presentation tips.

But . . .

This article does offer powerful and effective advice grouped into eight points to get you on your way.

As with most of these things, the article is fun to read and satisfying.

We read.  We nod.  Scratch the chin.

“I can do that,” we think.

But to follow the advice, ahhhh . . . that is the rub!

Presentation Tips Mean ChangeIt requires behavior changes, and this is the most difficult thing for people to do.

I have seen it time and again in my classes . . . students know the information.  They internalize it.  They receive instruction.

But nothing happens.

They don’t change.

They continue plying their unconscious bad habits, even when those habits are pointed out and become part of the realm of the known.

Promise is easy.  Change is difficult.

This is a tip most folks don’t want to hear.

For more “tips,” consult my comprehensive book on business school presenting, entitled with suitable hubris:  The Complete Guide to Business School Presenting.