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Three basic steps to presentation success

Presentation Skills

Written by Paul Castle |

May 18, 2018

The ability to communicate is the birth right of each and every human being. But what are the three basics elemnts used by the most effective speakers?

The ability to communicate is the birthright of each and every human being.

Techniques v Authenticity

Many of my clients have asked me:

“Paul, why don’t you write a book on presentation skills?”

To which I have replied:

“Every one of us presents differently. We should be authentic to our true selves and develop our individual presenting skills according to our own strengths.”

I usually add, with a big smile on my face:

“If we model some of the very best presenters we will observe that they break every rule in the book.”

Who is a good presenter?

We have all sat through a presentation when we were so captivated, immersed and enthralled that time just flew by. Every message seems to be easy to remember, easy to understand and easy to explain to others.

What has just happened? How did she do it? What are her secrets?

I will not dwell on poor presentations. There are too many of them to even consider. Sadly many poor presenters are unaware of the pain, boredom and low energy they inflict on us, their listener.

A frightening statistic, I read the other day, said that over 95% of all presentations each month fell into the category of poor presentations.

Millions and millions of them.

That sure gives you an opportunity to be noticed and shine brightly in the business and political environment.

Our brain is a social being and is designed to mirror the emotions of anyone that communicates with us.

What emotions, energy and attitude are these good presenters sharing with you?

What are these master communicators doing?

I would imagine, that you like me, would love to not only know their secrets but be able to use them easily, effortlessly, and authentically’, wouldn’t you?

There are three core principles to investigate:

• Purpose

• Enthusiasm

• First Impressions.


A presentation without a purpose, outcome or goal, is like a ship without a rudder. You must know where you are going or how will you know when you get there? This is the fate of so many presentations. If you do not know where you are going how will you know what is relevant in your presentation. What might your purpose be?

• To create an emotional response

• To get your audience to take action

• To give information

• Any combination of the above

For any of us living in the United Kingdom, we have seen the emergence of two political parties led by politicians who understand how to appeal to our emotions and create the desire for us to take action today.

How have they achieved this outcome?

• Delivering a single key message

• Keeping their language simple and easy to understand

• Engaging and communicating with voters; with enthusiasm, a smile and authenticity.


This is not a one size fits all. The level of enthusiasm is content and context dependent.

If your task is to motivate a sales force to greater activity and results, this means you must work with every one'sbrains. As you remember, the brain will mirror the emotions of people communicating with it. So be enthusiastic, it’s contagious.

If however, you are presenting to medical consultants this would be an inappropriate method. Yes, you must be enthusiastic inside. It is important to meet your audience’s expectation. This means you begin at their emotional level and gradually raise your level of enthusiasm. This means you must constantly observe your audience for feedback.

Flexibility on your part is an essential skill.

Being enthusiastic does not mean behaving as if you are an enthusiastic game show host. It means controlling your internal state and only projecting the appropriate enthusiasm externally.

We have covered knowing your purpose and being enthusiastic. The final element is creating a positive First Impression.

First Impression

How quickly do you form a first impression of someone? Before we attempt to answer that interesting question, let’s ask another.

How long does it take you to form an ‘instant dislike of someone’?

When was the last time it happened to you? How long did it take? I know you think I should know it was instant.

Back to our original question. How quickly do you form a first impression of someone? The answer is, virtually instantaneously.

Many researchers have explored this question, only to arrive at our answer.

As an aside what does this mean for our legal system? When does the jury decide on the defendant’s guilt or innocence?

That’s right you’ve guessed it. Almost, instantaneously. Wow, so the jury may have decided on the defendant's innocence or guilt without one word being spoken.

What does this mean for our presentation?

We need to give a great first impression. If you want some clues on how to achieve this, look at President Obama in 2008 or President Clinton.

Your Opportunity

Take advantage of a free 30 minute coaching session with me. For more details contact me at

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