Presenting and Public Speaking

Make sure your presentation kit works!

I attended a couple of business events last week, both of which emphasised how important smooth running equipment is to delivering a great presentation.

At one event the intro ‘impact’ video refused to play and at the other the screen was in a recess in the wall making it difficult for those on side tables to see it.

100+ people were at one of the events and the speakers decided not to use the microphone that was available. Outcome : Difficult to hear them, especially when they spoke from the sideways on position – you know the one where the speaker is facing sideways so they can read from the screen and occasionally turn towards the audience.

The sideways position disengages the speaker from their audience, especially those who are now looking mainly at the speakers back.

So here are a couple of tips:


Do a sound and video check before the audience arrives. Get someone to play the video while you stand at the back of the room to check you can see and hear it.

If the video / audio doesn’t work or is of poor quality you will need a Plan B, especially if you only discover this on the day. Be ready to drop it, don’t waste time trying to get it to work when your audience are in situ.


Here’s my rule of presenting using microphones : Those who think they don’t need a mic are the ones who usually do.

If you are in a large room use a mic. Check with the organisers what is available – ideally a wireless lapel mic. Arrive early and do a sound check. When it’s time for your presentation you don’t want to start with a mic check saying ‘Can you all hear me?’

If you use a handheld mic don’t eat it, hold it a few centimetres in front of you.

If no mic is available speak boldly and aim your voice at the back of the room. Stand facing the audience and don’t speak too fast – throw in a few pauses to ensure the audience keeps up.

Don’t keep looking at the screen

The difference between good and average presenters is often the way they interact with the screen.

Confident, well prepared speakers will occasionally glance at the screen ensuring their attention and eye contact is clearly focused on their audience.

Average presenters check each slide as it appears and poor presenters read from the screen.

And finally don’t use A4 notes – if I’m in the audience and a speaker turns up with A4 notes it says two things to me:

  1. They don’t know their subject hence the need for extensive notes
  2. They haven’t prepared very well

Have a few one word prompts written on a postcard as a safety net, held discreetly in your hand – this also gives you something to hold. My rule for postcard notes – one postcard for every 7 slides.

Presenting is an increasingly important business skill which can win you business, gain you promotion, attract investment, get you a new job, retain a key client, increase your profile etc….

So if you get a chance to present do prepare well and practice enough to deliver confidently on the day.

If you need help to become a great presenter, speaker and sales pitcher call me, Trevor Lee, on 07785 390717 or email me via

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