Presentation Skills Articles

Essential Presentation Skills

A Confused Mind Says "No!"

written by Jan D'Arcy

Have you ever seen a glazed look in the eyes of your audience while you are speaking? Are you putting off your customers by going into too much detail in a sales presentation? What did your customer really want to know? A confused mind will say, "No!" Your listeners need to thoroughly understand your ideas before they can accept them.

Here are some presentation skill techniques you can use to give your listeners useful knowledge to help them reach their goals - as well as helping you reach yours.

1. Clarity

Take responsibility for the audience's ability to understand your topic. Avoid ambiguity. Choose words that have only one meaning and cannot be misinterpreted. Avoid fat or abstract words like quality, professional, or futuristic. Engage the senses of touch, sight, smell or taste by using words such as icy, shrill, silky, or fragrant. Elevate your speaking vocabulary to the level of your reading vocabulary. I keep a copy of Rodale's Synonym Finder on my desk at all times or look up words on an internet thesaurus. Break down large amounts of material into cohesive units that can be easily understood by the audience. Give information in sequence to help retention. This is the first step, second step, and so on.

2. Associate with the familiar

Use similes and analogies and metaphors. Explain your concept by showing what it is like. "In place of buttons beyond the scroll ball, the optical-scanning mouse has four sensors that can be programmed for multiple actions, just like the left and right buttons on many PC mice."

3. Use concrete examples

"Online gaming can be severely addictive. Individuals have lost their jobs, destroyed their marriages, and one teenager pulled a knife on his father when he tried to take away the computer."

4. Adapt to an audience with different levels of knowledge

Give a general statement and especially if is technical or the least bit obscure, follow it immediately with an example directly relating to your audience. Add some specific details or in-depth points for the more sophisticated listeners. Reiterate your main points in simple terms. You can give a complex example but include some reference points for everyone. Explain your acronyms. End your presentation by summarizing your message in general terms so that everyone can reach the same conclusion as you do.

For example, one of my clients was explaining to a group of business people the use of a new titanium heart valve that can substitute for a heart transplant. He wanted them to buy and transfer this valve design to use in their engineering products. I helped him rewrite his presentation. He was able to get his audience involved by asking if they knew someone who had had a heart attack. Then he gave some technical details about the workings of the valve and defined his acronyms. He talked in general about the meticulous testing that went into the design. He compared elements of this valve design and how it could be used in their products. The biggest change I suggested was to end by talking about the benefits and profits rather than dwelling on all the complex technical details that were far above his business audience. It was a successful presentation!

Remember :
Understanding is a prerequisite to acceptance.

Start now with a FREE 15-min Consultation
(206) 683-2982 or
Join our extensive list of satisfied clients

Technically Speaking:
A Guide for Communicating Complex Information

Read an excerpt and learn more about this

Skills Book

”You helped our Marketing and Communications Managers condense a lot of detailed material into a short amount of time. The best part was that they took your advice to ”make it interactive” and were able to establish rapport quickly and maintain a dialogue with the sales reps throughout their presentations. I think the run-throughs on videotape and your critiques allowed them to shift their emphasis to the audience, delivering information that was needed and useful.”

Bob Betz, VP
Stimson Lane
Woodinville, WA

Try some of the techniques I have suggested. Let me know by email if they help you achieve rapport in your next presentation or you have further questions.

Check out my monthly Blog as we will continue to discuss techniques to help you become a Compelling Speaker.


Copyright © 2013 Jan D'Arcy and Associates. All Rights Reserved.

Jan D'Arcy & Associates
330 2nd Ave South #12 Kirkland, WA 98033     |    (206)-683-2982