Successful Presentations

To quote Mark Twain: “If you want me to give you a two-hour presentation, I am ready today. If you want only a five-minute speech, it will take me two weeks to prepare.”

“The communicator’s job is to make the important, interesting”.- John Howze

Remember that accomplished speakers set themselves up to deliver high-value information, not to convey detailed, pedestrian material that is best read in written format.

The shorter a presentation, the better it needs to be organized. Use the time-tested “power of three” – introduction, body and conclusion – to structure your talk. Schedule three minutes for the introduction, 12 for the body (with four minutes for each of your three core points), and three for the conclusion.

However long you’re scheduled to speak, you simply cannot go over your allotted time.

“Many attempts to communicate are nullified by saying too much.” Robert Greenleaf

“You can be a brilliant orator, but the moment you roll past your limit, your credibility begins to suffer. Today’s audiences, with busy work lives, have less tolerance for speakers who lack the discipline and manners to stop at the appointed time.

Rehearse your talk often enough so that if your presentation time is reduced for whatever reason (perhaps a technical malfunction at the venue), you can still deliver your material with confidence and clarity. It’s not about how long you speak. It’s about how well you connect”

Jim Gray

Jim Gray is a speaker and communication skills coach in Toronto author of How Leaders Speak: Essential Rules for Engaging and Inspiring Others. Website:

“Press on: nothing in the world can take the place of perseverance. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. ” Calvin Coolidge (1872 – 1933)

To your speaking success!!

Fran Watson

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