The Art of the Presentation


If you ask any pilot, he or she will tell you that the most critical portions of flying are planning the flight and performing the actual flight, which includes the three most crucial phases of aviation: taking off, navigating the flight path, and landing.

Two equally essential phases to delivering a successful presentation are preparation and delivery. The three parts of every production are the introduction, the flow of the content, and the conclusion.

Therefore, presenters face a threefold challenge:

– to determine what they hope to accomplish with their talk

– to organize the presentation’s thesis such that it contains an appropriate amount of relevant material, analogies, stories, and

– to present the material so that the audience is compelled to listen.


The American humorist and author Mark Twain once observed, “It usually takes me more than three weeks to prepare a good impromptu speech.” Even though the information is available online now, a good presenter will still spend at least ten to fifteen hours preparing for an hour-long talk.

Deciding to organize your argument beforehand is like making a flight plan. It’s time-consuming but pays off by making the presentation more focused and on-point. A presenter’s flow or flight path, for instance, could be conceived of as a hybrid of a:

The present, past, or future situations or a

Sign, cause, and cure case study.

The presentation will go more smoothly if the presenter takes the time to learn about the audience and what they expect from it.

First rule: Always start with the ending.

John Irving, a successful American novelist and screenwriter, stated that he always knows how his stories will end before he begins writing them an interview on CBC’s As it Happened on May 4, 2012. He then gears his writing toward that end.

What do you hope to accomplish by writing this? And if you’re trying to inform people, what are the top three to four takeaways you want them to remember?

After settling on a goal and a specific way to move forward, such as requesting financing or making a recommendation, it’s time to start working backward to unearth the advantages.

Planning a call-back—referencing the opening’s central idea, question, phrase, tagline, statistic, or character—is integral to a compelling conclusion. A strong call-back at the end of the message helps to solidify the communication’s central argument.

As with well-known authors, there are many advantages to setting up the ending or conclusion first and focusing on that as you speak:

It helps the presenter focus on the presentation’s goals.

Helps form the beginning

Time spent getting ready is cut down significantly.

Second Rule: Draft your introduction.

Getting people interested in what you have to say in the first 30 seconds of your opening is essential. You can hook your audience’s attention and get them interested in what you’re talking about with a well-planned provocative statement, rhetorical question, statistic, quote, or short narrative.

To kick off a talk about innovation in human resources, a speaker might say something like, “Left to their own devices, people will choose to collaborate with others they know well, which can be deadly for innovation,” citing the work of professors Ibarra and Hansen from Insead and the University of California.

Any of the aforementioned attention-grabbing openers, such as this one, should be well-suited to the topic. It establishes the mood for what will follow.

We may set the bar high immediately by asking, “Do you know that 39% of our employees are Net Geners?” For our company, what does this mean? Regarding opportunity cost, consider the following: “Our product set will be irrelevant in the next nine months unless we shift to digital delivery.”

In the opening few minutes of a presentation, you should introduce a foreshadowing, a vital element like a fact, question, phrase, tagline, statistic, or character in a story. Foreshadowing piques the audience’s interest and leads them to anticipate a resolution or climax to the story.

Third, get your primary material ready.

The presentation’s body is worked on once the introduction and conclusion have been completed. Presenters should use single words or short phrases when utilizing slides. Stock image websites like and are great places to find high-quality images for cheap.

The central part, or the argument’s route, must be concise and well-organized. Twenty and twenty-five percent of a presentation should be spent interacting with the audience. There is a 15-20% introduction followed by a 60-65% main body.

Construct an Intervention

Seattle Pacific University molecular biologist John Medina claims that people’s interest in the presentation begins to wane after ten minutes. According to Medina, “When I placed hooks in my lectures, I immediately noticed changes in the audience members’ attitudes.” Emotional triggers, pertinent anecdotes, and stories highlighting central themes are all examples of “hooks” that can keep the audience interested.


Keeping calm

Stuart Crainer, author of The Financial Times Handbook of Management, notes, “There comes a time in everyone’s life when you find yourself getting to your feet with a strange feeling in your stomach and a lightheaded sensation.” You may have lost your taste for public speaking at this time.

The best approach to overcome stage fright is to give the presentation several times in front of a “rented” audience and refine it each time. Professors Ibarra and Hansen recommend finding an audience that the presenter does not already know. The audience needs to be in an optimal state to offer creative suggestions and constructive criticism on various aspects of the presentation, including but not limited to flow and structure, clarity, impact, passion and rapport, use of graphics, etc.

Arriving early, “owning” the room before you speak, and mingling with the audience during coffee breaks may do wonders for a presenter’s self-assurance and the audience’s interest and participation.

Confidence and body language

Until the presenter gets excited about or starts to own the topic, no amount of coaching on body language, such as restraining or enhancing hand gestures or encouraging vocal projection, will be helpful. Body language and message alignment result from a speaker’s genuine interest in and understanding of the subject rather than vice versa. As Eckhart Tolle put it, “Only the truth of who you are, if realized, will set you free.”

Given that most speakers would be the first to label themselves “a work in progress,” the best way to present yourself on stage is to be yourself. Co-host of CBC’s Dragon’s Den Arlene Dickinson has said, “When people feel they’re dealing with a real person, who isn’t hiding behind excuses or a mask… they know they’re dealing with someone they can trust.”

Preparation is the key to delivering a successful presentation. Like most pilots, I find the most enjoyment in guiding an audience on an exciting adventure.

Please consider having me lead a session of The Persuasive Presenter 1 ProgramTM at your company. The training will make you an effective public speaker and storyteller who can confidently pitch new ideas to stakeholders and win them over to your side of the aisle. The Persuasive Presenter 1 ProgramTM is designed to help you become a more confident and effective public speaker by applying principled persuasion tactics, compelling storytelling, and extensive practice. Just ring +1.778.386.5167 or visit.

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