Presentation Mastery: 6 Steps to a Successful Presentation

Article by Douglas Kruger, 5 time South
Africa Public Speaking Champion

Looking to add a little electricity in your own
presentations? Use the following six devices
to add sizzle to your sentences:

1. Start by sounding human

When you chat with your friends, would you use
a sentence like, “It is has come to my notice,
in terms of our internal policies, that wasteful
expenditure is causing a detrimental effect
upon our bottom-line profits”? Doubtful.
A human being would say, “We’re wasting
too much and it’s hurting us.”

Use a conversational tone. A conversational tone
keeps your audience engaged - and awake!

2. Craft interesting titles

Yes, you can deliver an address titled
‘A Critical Look at the History and Production
of Fireworks.’ But how much more engaging to
have the MC say, ‘Help me to welcome Joe,
with his speech titled ‘Bang! – Making the Fire Work!’

Your title is an opportunity to create interest before
you even stand to speak. Take the time to develop
a hook.

3. Metaphors help you to sum up complex ideas quickly

Certainly, you can show a busy graph depicting
the in’s and out’s of any idea. Or you could simply
use a metaphor that captures the essence of the idea,
and say, “It’s like...”
Metaphors sum up complex ideas quickly.

4 Repeat catch-phrases often and your point will be remembered

Simple. Memorable. Easy to repeat.

Advertisers know the value of a good catch-phrase,
and top speakers understand it too. Remember the
old war-time phrase ‘Loose lips sink ships’? That’s
the kind of easy-to-repeat mnemonic slogan you
should develop and use often in your presentations.

5. Alliteration adds impact

In one of my contest speeches, I spoke about
the glib nature of self-help quick fixes. I packaged
it in the following sentence: “The treadmill of
self-improvement churns out Kellogg’s Rice Competitors,
Kentucky Fried Performers, Supersized McMen and Women;
egos bigger than buildings.” Alliteration adds musicality to
your sentences. Its rapid-fire nature also helps you to create
the impression of being ‘on a roll’ when you speak, which
adds to the perception of passion.

6. Visual devices bring dry information to life

Don’t just give information. Create mental pictures.
The human mind becomes more engaged when
points are delivered in story form, with character,
setting, emotion and the description of action.
We do not ‘feel’ a PowerPoint graph the way
that we feel a story. Use language that creates
the perception that you are ‘re-living’ the story as
you tell it, and you will pin souls to seats and set
fire to minds. Best of all, you will be remembered.

About the Author
Douglas Kruger has represented Africa in the
Toastmasters World Championship finals three
times. He is the author three books, including
50 Ways to Become a Better Speaker.
See him in action, or review his books and
articles, at: