10 Lessons from 10 Years of Studying Business Presentations

Let me start by acknowledging and reminding everyone that knock-out presentations define careers, businesses and send certain people on trajectories of massive success.

Those who consistently fail at presentations are in most cases stuck in professional or entrepreneurial ruts.

Serious presentation skills can truly set people and life paths apart.  

Business presentations can come in all shapes and sizes. I am talking seminars, conference talks, keynotes, online webinars, sales pitches, and youtube videos amongst others. Between live and digital performances, the number of ways to advance causes is widening.

However, what remains the same are the foundations of what sets up certain people to crush their presentation and those who limp away in defeat of the monster, public speaking can be for some.

In my years of studying, doing and coaching business presentations, I have come to some definitive conclusions about what it takes to deliver the goods.

To celebrate ten years worth of the above, I have compiled 10 bite-sized chunks of presentation goodness for you to devour.

Without further ado, let’s launch into this!

1. Being unique is the key

Killer business presentations can be done in so many ways. I have seen people use no slides, 5 slides, 50 slides, props, no props, audio, no audio, video, no video, imagery, no imagery. The use or omission of the above is purely an individual choice. They key is that whatever choice you make it is done in reference to the following:

a) It is unique enough to capture and hold the attention of your intended audience

b) It is the BEST WAY to transfer info to your audience.

*Most people follow the standard powerpoint choice by default. However, that is a mistake. Sometimes a standard powerpoint style approach may be a good choice, sometimes not. The key is consciously determining what will be best for your audience as far the two aforementioned points are concerned.

2.  Attitude is everything

Those presenters that are winning have a different attitude altogether towards giving their spiel to an audience. They love the chance to get up and tell their stories, give their stats and promote their ideas. Why?

They know that advancing their own agenda and success is dependant on others.

Presentations offer the best bang for buck to do this. In one online presentation, thousands of people can be reached. Conferences offer chances to certain people to reach hundreds if not thousands. There is power and efficiency in that approach.

As such the people that are killing it do not shy away from such opportunities. Were they always that way though? In most cases no. However, they did something else which I’ll cover in point three.

3.  Effort

 Awesome speakers don’t shy away from the work required to crush business presentations. People who nail talks on all levels are not afraid of ACTUAL work. I am sorry, but having a successful business or professional career is hard and if anyone says otherwise, they are fibbing. There is work. Lots of work. Superb presentation skills are part of it.

People who devote time to this skill are truly allowing themselves to leverage all of the other hard work they have put towards advancing their businesses and or careers.

man studying hard4.  Focus 

As an entrepreneur or professional, we are often pulled into a thousand different work-related directions at once. Then add family obligations and before you know it, your time, energy and determination can take massive hits. Unfortunately, the thing that most people who fail to advance their businesses and careers cut is their presentation skill development time.

Ironically, giving killer talks is one of the best ways to improve all of those conditions and regain some degree of control.

Those who are on top of the world know this and put the time towards addressing their public speaking deficiencies. In other words, they focus and have a high degree of what I’ll call “Stick-To-It-ness.”  

Great presenters figure out what it takes to deliver their message in an outstanding manner. Once they’ve got it, they focus and continue to work on it.  

5.  Perseverance

Fun fact: Everyone fails. There is no one who is immune to this unfortunate truth. Take learning to walk and speak as examples. We all fail each and every day. What eventually gets us all to a point of complete competence is perseverance.  

Yeah, presentations are tough at first, no doubt. The question is what do you do after your 1st, 50th or 500th failure? Do you give up? Do you learn from it? Most successful presenters aren’t afraid to keep learning and trying. These people attempt to diagnose what went wrong and or right. Ultimately success minded folk keep grinding.

10 lessons 10 years Public Speaking Action Guide Download

6.  Thick skin 

Another regrettable truth is that there are some people out there that are flat out unkind. Online trolls lurk in the nether regions of the net and will rear their ugly attitudes and voices from time to time simply for the sake of doing so. Those in the flesh may also have a mean streak with intent to disrupt and criticize.

Sometimes the reasons are known, sometimes not. However, at the end of the day, great presenters waste little time on these types of individuals.

Presentation artists focus on helping their audiences and pay little attention to comments that are unjust or undeserved.

On the other hand, people who avoid presentations or barely scrape by in giving them, tend to focus on the minuscule chance that one of these trolls will rear their ugly attitude towards them. The problem with this, of course, is that a presenter’s focus ultimately drifts from delivering the goods towards things they have little control over. Don’t let this be you!

7.  Get Help 

Professionals and entrepreneurs that are experiencing massive success are not afraid of this next point. They know that they are NOT masters of all things. Their success is derived from hard work and the seeking out of specialized knowledge.

Whether that means hiring a personal presentation coach, taking an online presentation course, or joining an organization to help them, the very best presenters have probably done one of the above if not a couple of them.

In a nutshell, the most skillful business presentations I have witnessed have been executed by people who took time to seek help and developed a willingness to listen, learn and implement.

8.  Execution  

Great presenters leverage the information they have collected, learned and practiced. They take steps to avoid reverting to old self-serving habits that are not audience-centered.

Presentation masters look to execute at a high level each and every time.

They develop a standard of presenting that becomes an extension of their own personal brand of “achievement”. Great business presentations are driven by people who adopt this execution mindset and they aim to do so under ALL circumstances (not just when everything is perfect).

Sure that might mean a bit of extra work to ensure you have back up plans in place when technology fails or key points are suddenly forgotten. The reward, however, is that you consistently are able to achieve. And that folks, is what will help you win in presentations and LIFE.

woman giving presentation

9.  Practice, Practice, Practice!

Yeah, I know this point isn’t earthshaking nor overly deep. However, it is good old-fashioned advice that will never go out of style. Presenters who don’t live up to their potential are usually plagued not by lack of skill or intelligence but rather effort and diligence in the pursuit of excellence. Take memorization for example. It’s tedious but done well can really help a presenter stand out!

I’ve actually written a post on how to handle this cumbersome and time-consuming task. I highly recommend you check it out!

10.  Patience but with a mindset of rapid skill development (Rushed Patience)

Yes, I am preaching both patience as well as rapid skill development in the same sentence. Let me explain.

Presentation success does not occur overnight. Rather, it is all about putting in the work and continually placing one foot forward as quickly as possible. The more you devote to this skill development as far as time and effort, the faster you will experience all of the goodies–thought leadership, respect, promotions, new business etc–that come along with being able to win over audiences of all types.

The patience comes in as far as being realistic about how much you can realistically expect all at once. Becoming great at anything takes time. This process always requires work and commitment.

The most successful business presentations are run by those who have the patience and inner drive to be the best. Do you have this mindset?

So, there you have it. My ten lessons from ten years of studying business presentations. I can assure you that it is not based on theory, nor “rah rah” chants. No, this was taken from personally doing, coaching and witnessing others do it.

I would like to see you adopt these skills and mindsets too! Let me help you start developing ALL of it.

You can do so by grabbing the ten-point action plan I specifically made to accompany this post! It will help you gain clarity on what you need to work on and develop to become an individual that is able to thrive when publically advancing your causes.

Get started on improving your presentation game. Your own version of success awaits.

10 lessons 10 years Public Speaking Action Guide Download

As always, I would love to hear how you are doing! You can reach out by finding and following us on these platforms:

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