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3 Steps to Better Presentations

Even the most hardened New York Type-A professional can struggle with what some people fear worse than death: public speaking. Here are three tips that you can add quickly to whatever routine you follow before conducting a presentation.

3 Steps to Better Presentations (Photo: iStockphoto)

Think in threes
The most effective presenters “signpost” what they are going to say and when they are going to say it as a first step in delivering a speech or presentation. Providing main ideas or details in groups of three is the ideal way to prioritize and limit the thoughts you are going to share to a digestible set that your audience can remember.

Write out word-for-word exactly what you want to say for complex ideas
If you have a particularly sophisticated message, winging it the day or minute of delivering a formal presentation will probably lead to regret. In this scenario, if you just knew exactly what you wanted to say ahead of time, you could have nailed that topic with as few words as possible. Consider writing out what you want to say. Practice delivering your message so you understand what you want to say and how you want to deliver it.  Practice will help you share your message in a natural tone.

Ask a friend to videotape you
Self-awareness is crucial to improving your public speaking skills. Ask a trusted friend or family member to videotape you delivering your presentation. You’ll be shocked by what you will learn about mannerisms and ticks you didn’t know you have. This constructive exercise will be an eye-opening experience. If you are aware of some of the things that might impede your delivery, you will be able to correct the issues before your live delivery. Of course I understand that watching yourself might be uncomfortable. I think you might quickly get over this – especially if you witness something on video that you wouldn’t want other people to see!

Debra Wheatman is a certified writer and career coach who has guided the professional development of thousands of clients globally. She is reachable at

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