Simple Things Great Speakers Would Do

Business Insider shared the following 9 simple things great speakers would always do during a presentation. The insights belong to Boris Veldhuijzen van Zanten, serial entrepreneur and founder of TwitterCounter and The Next Web. Do you agree with them?


  • Reinforce who you are – Even though the audience might know something about you, it still makes sense to say a little bit extra about yourself. Don’t overload everyone with information, but in one or two sentences explain how your background matters and makes you the perfect person to share what you’re about to say.
  • Help everyone find you – Provide your contact information on the opening screen, and keep it there for a while.
  • Share real stories – People love stories. The best presentations I’ve seen didn’t feel like presentations at all — they were stories told by people with amazing experiences. When you want to explain something to an audience, see if you can translate it into a story, an anecdote, or even a joke.
  • Entertain as much as inform – An often forgotten point: Your job is to, at least in part, entertain the members of your audience. Never forget that people will listen more closely to what you have to say when they’re having a good time.
  • Time it perfectly – When you’re speaking, in effect you’re borrowing your audience’s time. It’s investing in you — respect that investment and don’t abuse that trust. If you’re given 30 minutes, feel free to only use 25 minutes. Your primary goal is to entertain, inform, and make your audience’s investment in time worthwhile. Your goal is not to use up every available minute.
  • Provide something to take home – I always try to think of something specific I can deliver — in words, not in swag — that the members of the audience can apply as soon as they get back to work.
  • Feel free to repeat – It never hurts to repeat yourself a few times. If you want to explain a certain principle, first explain it. Then give two examples of your principle at work. Then, at the end of your talk, go over the different principles you covered and briefly highlight each one. By then, you’ve explained your principle four times, and that might just be enough.
  • Help the audience remember at least one thing – If 10 percent of the people in the audience really listen to your story and remember one or two key points they can incorporate into their lives, you’ve done really well. Focus on providing something people can remember and that will have an impact on their lives. To do that, of course, means your story must be simple and clear.
  • Really connect with your audience – No matter how big the crowd, your goal is to make everyone in the audience feel like you are speaking with him or her personally.

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