Career advice

Crucial tips for a good presentation

Stimulating content and engaging your audience are crucial to delivering a good presentation. Follow these tips from health coach Mandy Day-Calder and you won’t go far wrong.
present

Stimulating content and engaging your audience are crucial to delivering a good presentation. Follow these tips from health coach Mandy Day-Calder and you wont go far wrong

Communicating with patients, relatives and colleagues is all in a days work for nurses, and many will take this easily in their stride. But talking in front of larger groups of people is terrifying for some, so how can you ensure that any presentation you deliver is a success?

Think about recent talks or seminars you have attended what made the content engaging or not? And what helped or hindered your ability to stay focused on what was being said?

Keep these points in mind as you plan what you will be delivering, and consider the following:

Stimulating content and engaging your audience are crucial to delivering a good presentation. Follow these tips from health coach Mandy Day-Calder and you won’t go far wrong

present
It is vital to engage your audience, so consider your voice
and overall energy levels. Picture: iStock

Communicating with patients, relatives and colleagues is all in a day’s work for nurses, and many will take this easily in their stride. But talking in front of larger groups of people is terrifying for some, so how can you ensure that any presentation you deliver is a success?

Think about recent talks or seminars you have attended – what made the content engaging or not? And what helped or hindered your ability to stay focused on what was being said?

Keep these points in mind as you plan what you will be delivering, and consider the following: 

  • Research your subject and your audience: this will increase your confidence and help you display professionalism. 
  • Find your passion: the audience will take your lead, so if you are inspired by your subject matter the chances are this will filter through. 
  • Plan your content: start with broad headings and build it up, and include relevant anecdotes from your clinical experience. 
  • Be creative: don’t fall into the ‘death by PowerPoint’ trap. Use visual props or short interactive exercises, and try to keep notes for key points. 
  • Expect the unexpected: plan how you will answer tricky questions. If you don’t know the answer don’t lie – try bouncing it back to the group instead. 
  • Plan for success: positive visualisations and affirmations can help you evoke positive experiences. 
  • Don’t get caught out by IT: find out what you need to take and consider a backup plan, such as a memory stick or spare laptop charger. 
  • Practice: ask friends or colleagues to give you constructive feedback.

As well as providing stimulating content, it is vital you engage your audience, so consider how you use your voice, your posture and your overall energy levels: 

  • Try to relax. Controlling your emotions is essential, so try to recreate the positive feelings you worked on when preparing your presentation. 
  • Stand tall and let the air fill your lungs. 
  • Keep scanning the room and maintain eye contact without staring at people. 
  • Speak clearly and breathe from your diaphragm. 
  • Drinking water will prevent your mouth from drying up, and give you a couple of seconds to ‘pause’ when need be. 
  • It is okay to change your script – no one else knew what it was anyway. 
  • Be assertive. If questions lead you astray, bring yourself back to the topic and be mindful of the time. 
  • Using humour appropriately can make talks more enjoyable and memorable. Use your knowledge of the audience to gauge your tone. 

As tempting as it may be, don’t just breathe a sigh of relief and file your presentation away once finished. Ask to see the audience feedback and reflect on what worked, what didn’t and what you would do differently next time.


Mandy Day-Calder is a freelance writer and life/health coach 

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