Presentation Skills: Think Outside The Box When Delivering Your Speech

Preseantiona skills - think outside the box

Presentation skills reflect how you deliver your speech. Effective presentation utilizes good public speaking techniques, body language, tone of voice, creativity, and delivery style. Using these skills turns a mundane speech into an engaging, informative, educational, and persuasive one.

Want your presentation to resonate with those assembled to hear it? Perfecting strong presentation skills is an excellent way to make certain the audience hears your point in the most effective manner possible.

Whether you are recording for a Ted Talk or speaking in person at a banquet, you can use many tactics to strengthen your talk.

What Are Presentation Skills?

Presentation skills are what takes a speech from adequate to outstanding. What you say, how you organize it, how you deliver your material, and how you support what you say with visual aids play a part in this transformation.

Remember that when you present, you are doing far more than just reading prepared words from a page.

What Is The Difference Between Presentation Skills And Public Speaking?

Public speaking is talking in front of audience members. It can be a planned speech or an impromptu one.

Giving a presentation usually involves more than simply talking. A successful presentation might include some visual aid like a Powerpoint with charts, graphs, or images to help explain your point. The public speaker uses body language, gestures, and voice inflection, to engage those listening.

Someone with strong presentation skills recognizes that the entire package is essential to catch and maintain the audience’s attention. So how do you ensure you are giving the best presentation you can?

Presenatio skills include more than just speaking

What Are The Qualities Of A Good Presentation?

A great presentation is not smoke and mirrors. It contains all the basics that make the speech itself sound.

  • Accuracy of Information: Having command of the subject matter is essential as you articulate your major points and answer any questions that might arise. One major takeaway is that you need to be knowledgeable about the topic you will be addressing.
  • Clear Objective: Right off the bat, make your objective known. If you don’t, your audience may try to figure that out rather than listen to the specifics.
  • Engaging: Have you ever had to sit through a boring speech? A good presentation is engaging and keeps the attention of the audience.
  • Thorough: Part of a strong presentation is being thorough on the topic at hand, given the time allotted. Know what you are talking about through careful research and understanding.
  • Well-Rehearsed: Not practicing your speech multiple times beforehand can make you fumble, so it sounds like you don’t know what you are talking about. Practicing also helps you become more confident, which impacts how you come across to the audience. The better rehearsed you are, the stronger your message will come across.

The takeaway here is that the preparation and content of your speech should be sound before you walk up to the podium.

What Constitutes Good Presentation Skills?

Let’s look beyond the speech itself and into the little nuances that will help you exude self-confidence the next time you speak.

  • Body Language: Remember that your body language says almost as much as the words you speak. Practice good posture and decide if certain hand gestures work well with your speech and manner of speech.
  • Creativity: While some presentations call for a fairly straightforward technique, implementing some creativity in your speech can make for a memorable and very effective interaction with your audience.
  • Eye Contact: Look up at the audience periodically, offering adequate eye contact. If your eyes are glued to a piece of paper or note cards for most of the speech, the audience is less likely to trust and engage with you.
  • Get to the Point: Limit yourself to three or four main bullet points and do what you need to substantiate those points. Adding fillers to make a speech longer is not utilizing effective communication skills. Less can be more, so don’t keep adding just to add.
  • Learn the Audience: Anytime you get in front of an audience, it pays to know who you are speaking to. Understanding who you are addressing and targeting your speech helps you be a more effective speaker since you are more likely to engage with them.
  • Slow Down: Don’t make the mistake of talking too fast. Slowing down and speaking clearly is another key to public speaking skills. Inserting pauses into the speech helps you slow down and also gives those listening time to reflect on certain things you have said. If you need to read the speech faster than you should to stay within your time, cut down on the verbiage.
  • Stay Calm: Many people have a fear of public speaking. Learn tactics to help you get over this fear, such as deep breathing, focusing just above the heads of the audience to avoid focusing on their faces, and plenty of practice. The more you rehearse the speech, the more confident you become, which should help you ease anxiety.
  • Vary Your Media: While Microsoft PowerPoint is undoubtedly a powerful visual aid, consider mixing things up as you make your main points. Consider if your presentation could benefit from graphs, photos, or even a short video or two.
  • Voice Inflection: The tone of your voice also adds a lot to a presentation. You can use inflection and volume to make a point.
Presentation skills - enhance with visual aids

What Are Useful Types Of Presentation Skills?

As you can see, many presentation tips will help with your presentation preparation. They fall into a few categories:


The first thing to do is adequately prepare for your presentation. This involves creating an outline, doing your research, and putting it all together. Once you have written your main points down, you can flesh them out.

Make certain your thoughts flow together with smooth transitions. Don’t make the mistake of letting your ideas appear as stand-alone concepts.

Validation and Substantiation

Preparing your presentation also entails figuring out how you will illustrate your major points with visual aids. Your audience will hear your speech with their ears, but you can engage more senses with graphs, images, and other visual tactics to help further illustrate and reinforce your point.

Your visual can include flip charts, slide shows, PowerPoint presentations, or videos. The graphics should be clear, with each page or slide illustrating one point. Visual aids are considered props.

Presentation skills - enhance speech with visual aids


Once you have made your visual aids and the speech is ready to go, it is time to practice perfecting your speech while maintaining proper body language, making gestures, and maintaining eye contact with your imaginary audience. You can practice in front of a mirror or, even better, video yourself or practice in front of others. Ask for feedback and make adjustments as appropriate.

Your main goal is to perfect your speech delivery, but if you use visual aids, you must practice your presentation with graphic materials. You want to make sure you can smoothly introduce the visuals smoothly and artfully.

Visual aids will detract from your speech if you are not good at introducing the aids to the audience. Graphics can get your timing off if you do not move to them smoothly or if they cause more questions that take away from your speech time.


On the presentation day, get to the venue early enough to ensure that your technology works, you have everything you need, and are ready to go.

Take a few moments to ground yourself before your speech time. Do some deep breathing techniques, drink a cup of hot tea, or even listen to a song that relaxes you.

When it is your turn to present, all your preparation should pay off as you confidently take the mike to deliver your speech.

How Should You Use Jokes And Props In Your Presentation?

Presentation skills training may suggest starting your speech with a joke or anecdote. Some critics don’t think there is a place for that in a formal speech.

As you decide if you are going to tell a joke or amusing story, may sure it is appropriate for the audience and occasion. The right joke or story can hook the audience early on, but whatever you include must tie into your topic. Avoid telling a random story or joke without a way to make it a valuable part of the presentation.

You can also use props, including apparel, furniture, or electronics. Steve Jobs, for example, introduced the iPhone and MacBook as a prop when new models came to market. Elon Musk used a full-sized Tesla. As with other visual aids, the prop must enhance the speech and be easy to handle.

Speaker presents new smartphone

When giving a “how to” speech, it makes sense to have a prop to demonstrate your points as you go through the different steps. For other speeches, a powerful presentation does not require extras like props.

When you prepare a speech, be prepared to go the extra mile and apply the presentation skills to make the speech stand out.

Pam Berg

A former English teacher and currently an elementary principal in a rural school, Pam has honed her speaking skills in the classroom and before professional groups. Pam enjoys sharing her insights about public speaking almost as much as she enjoys running, which she does daily.

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