How To Give An Effective Presentation (With Examples)

By Justin Parker
Nov. 22, 2022
Skills Based Articles

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Even if you have great ideas, nobody will listen if you don’t know how to give a compelling presentation.

In your career, how you frame your ideas will be the key to influencing those who matter. Learn how to give a compelling presentation, and you’ll enjoy an advantage over the competition.

Key Takeaways:

  • Understand your purpose for presenting, structure your presentation in a logical manner, and prepare as much as possible.

  • Remember to breathe during your presentation! This will help keep you calm and focused.

  • Structure your presentation with a beginning, middle, and end.

  • Keep your presentation as concise and clear as possible.

How To Give An Effective Presentation (With Examples)

How To Give A Presentation

  1. Understand your purpose and environment. This is the first step to giving any effective presentation. You want to know what you are getting yourself into. Ask yourself:

    • Why am I giving this presentation? What are my reasons?

    • What am I trying to accomplish?

    • Who is my audience?

    • Where is my presentation going to be?

    • When is my presentation? How much time will I have to speak?

    This information allows you to structure your presentation so that it remains relevant and appropriate. Once you understand the who, what, where, when, and why of your presentation, you can then begin to focus on the “how”.

  2. Tell a story with a logical and engaging structure. Your presentation needs to connect with you audience. This means you need to incorporate the ancient art of story telling. You need to present your purpose in such a way that hooks your audience in, takes then on a journey, and concludes with some feeling of fulfillment.

    Essentially, you need a beginning, a middle, and an end. Each point of your presentation should flow into the next. Each point should build off one another to manifest the purpose of your presentation. In most cases, this is some kind of argument or goal you are trying to accomplish. Your structure is the framework of establishing this argument or goal.

  3. Practice and prepare. This ensures that you understand your material and you give yourself the chance to make changes ahead of time. Consider recording yourself to evaluate your performance and/or ask others to watch you practice. Do you research to make sure you have your information correct.

    Also, do you research on the presentation environment. Know where you are going to speak and what resources you will have or need to bring. Nothing will be perfect, but the more you practice and prepare, the more equipped you are to handle challenges, such as feelings of performance anxiety or technical issues.

    You may think practice and preparation will limit you, but in fact it frees you to be in the moment during your presentation.

  4. Present (and remember to breathe). Be present and in the moment during your presentation. Remember to breathe. If you have practice and prepared enough, you will find most of what you need to do will come without thinking. Stay relaxed and work through each step of your presentation at a steady pace. Don’t rush yourself, nor ramble on some random tangent. Stick the points and keep moving forward.

  5. Conclude and evaluate. Wrap everything up in a logical manner that hammers home your purpose. Then, you may or may not need to answer questions. Once you are done, congratulate yourself! Give yourself some time to reflect and consider what worked and what didn’t. Use this reflection to improve future presentations.

How to Structure Your Presentation

Every effective presentation uses an easy-to-follow structure that includes:

A compelling introduction.

The purpose of the introduction is to briefly sum up what you’re going to talk about and convey why the topic is relevant to the audience.

Make sure to:

  1. Start with an attention-grabber. You need to make the audience feel invested in your presentation as early as possible.

    There are a million different strategies to do this, such as:

    • Cite a shocking statistic. A surprising statistic makes the audience realize that they’re uninformed about the subject, inviting them to listen and learn more.

    • Tell a brief anecdote. Humans love stories. If you capture the audience’s emotional attention, then you’ll have their intellectual attention too.

      Great anecdotes are also widely relatable. The audience will care more if they feel your presentation directly relates to them.

    The type of attention-grabber you choose may depend on the type of presentation you’re giving. Be creative, test different methods, and observe what works.

  2. Clearly convey what the subject of your presentation is.

    After all effective presentations, the audience should be able to recall its core message clearly.

Body of evidence.

The body is where you present evidence to support the core message you stated in your intro.

Make sure that the body section of your presentation:

  1. Split each argument into clearly distinct sections. Think back to a compelling TED talk or presentation you’ve watched. You can probably still recall the main points and arguments that were given.

    Make sure that your evidence and arguments are separated clearly, rather than messily blended into each other.

  2. Use rhetorical techniques. The reason that most effective presentations include many of the same elements is that they’re proven to work.

    Use tools such as repetition to drive a point home.

    Humans respond well to numbers and statistics. If you can quote a percentage or figure to highlight your point, then definitely take that opportunity.

    Consider what the audience likely wants to know and find a method to address their concerns.


Use the conclusion to sum up your key takeaways.

You want to loop back to your original statement using what you said during the body of the presentation, but in a new and memorable way.

This is your last chance to make a lasting impression on the audience, so don’t just lazily repeat what you’ve already said.

Many presenters mistakenly treat the conclusion as an afterthought that’s added in as a custom. In fact, it’s probably one of the most important parts of your entire presentation.

Top Tips for Writing an Effective Presentation

Most compelling presentations follow several similar guidelines that hold true whether the audience is a large crowd or a few company administrators.

Here are a few of the most important ones to help you when writing your own presentation:

  1. Use a short, easy-to-follow structure. Be concise. When watching the most effective presentations, it’s easy to identify the introduction, body, and conclusion.

    This simple structure makes the presentation easy to comprehend while watching and similarly easy to recall afterward.

    Also, try to limit your presentation to a maximum of ten slides. It’ll make it easier for the audience to digest your message and process your evidence.

  2. Limit the amount of clutter on each slide. Less is more when it comes to making a memorable presentation.

    The end result of cramming paragraphs of compelling evidence into a slide is that nobody will process even a single line.

    Many marketing experts recommend a six-word limit per slide.

    That doesn’t mean you can’t convey information through other means, such as images and simple charts.

  3. Pay attention to design details. It’s often obvious to audiences from the first minute if a presentation is worth listening to or a complete snore.

    This is often due to design decisions that can make or break the presentation. Make sure to use eye-pleasing:

    • Color schemes. Too much color contrast on a slide can distract from its contents. Too little can make the entire presentation seem boring and ignorable.

    • Fonts. Imagine how seriously you would take a presentation that uses the same fonts often used in second-grade classrooms.

      Choose a font and size that are appropriate for your type of presentation and stick to them consistently throughout each slide.

      Don’t switch between upper and lowercase rules, or your slides will look sloppy.

    • Format. A single badly-pixelated image can make your entire presentation seem amateur and sloppy.

      Make sure your lines and text are neatly aligned.

  4. Practice your delivery. What’s on the screen is only half of the presentation; the other is the actual presenter.

    Presentation delivery is composed of two key parts:

    • Vocal delivery. Research shows that effective speakers know how to appropriately vary the pitch, volume, and pace of their voices.

      This isn’t just a gimmick and makes intuitive sense.

      If a presenter raises their voice when emphasizing a key point, we assume that they must be confident in their message.

      If a speaker pauses after delivering a shocking message, then their point seems more surprising and meaningful.

      Research some popular presentations on the internet and observe the different ways that speakers employ their voices as a tool.

      There also isn’t any catch-all strategy. Experiment with which vocal delivery methods fit your style and seem to work successfully.

    • Body language. Our brains are wired to pay attention to body language when someone is speaking to us.

      Even if someone makes a great point, a stiff posture and dead energy can easily distract from their message.

      Of course, you don’t need to swing your arms around and go overboard.

      Just make sure that when you prepare for your presentation, don’t just focus on its contents and ignore practicing natural and appropriately dynamic body language.

  5. Create “wow” moments. Think back to any memorable presentations you’ve watched. They’re probably memorable not because you remember the majority of their details, but because of one or two moments that really stood out.

    A great example is Bill Gates’ 2009 TED talk about his foundation’s efforts to reduce the spread of malaria.

    Gates started the presentation off by stating: “Now, malaria is, of course, transmitted by mosquitoes. I brought some here so you could experience this.”

    He then promptly walked to the center of the stage and opened a small jar that contained non-infected mosquitos.

    The presentation is well-remembered even a decade later because he captured everyone’s attention through surprise.

    The human brain gets bored easily. If you really want to make people remember your presentation, include something unexpected.

  6. Polish multiple times. Don’t review your presentation once and call it a day. Perfection requires iteration.

    A popular and effective approach is to start by outlining your ideas and structure to make sure you’re satisfied with the foundation.

    From there, add in all your details and what you want to say. Don’t be afraid to end up with a messy, bloated monster of a presentation.

    The next step is to polish your presentation down to the bare essentials. Examine what information is critical for your core message and what isn’t.

    This step is often the most difficult, as it can be challenging to choose what information to eliminate to reach that target of six words per slide.

    Once you feel like your presentation is polished enough, ask a trusted colleague to take a look at it. A fresh pair of eyes can help you identify what elements require further refining.

  7. Practice in front of people. You can practice a million times in front of a mirror, but it still won’t prepare you for stepping in front of an actual crowd.

    You need to become accustomed to confidently addressing a group of faces.

    If you’re an absolute beginner at public-speaking, then consider taking some classes.

  8. Use a remote. Using a remote to advance your slides allows you to face the audience at all times.

    Turning your back to the audience and fiddling with Microsoft Powerpoint on your laptop is extremely disruptive to any presentation.

  9. Prepare backup material. During the presentation, you’re going to discover that not everything you say is going to resonate with the audience.

    It’s prudent to prepare backup material such as anecdotes or different rhetorical techniques to choose from.

  10. Be genuine. Although you want your presentation to be polished and well-practiced, make sure to maintain a sense of authenticity when delivering it.

    Use small moments of humor to make your message more memorable and interesting to listen to.

    Don’t be afraid to mess up either. The audience understands that it’s natural to stumble and forget information, as long as it’s obvious you’ve prepared for your presentation.

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Justin Parker

Justin Parker is a dynamic and driven writing professional in advertising, film, and web-based content. He has over 10 years of experience as a professional writer in these realms, having written for commercials, music videos, feature screenplays, and content for Zippia. Justin holds a bachelor's of fine arts degree in film and television from the Savannah College of Art and Design.

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