We’ve recently added a new element to our presentation training – and it’s a game changer.

There’s great value and learning to be had from a mix of theory and practise. But the latest addition significantly ups the performance and engagement of delegates.

Video and playback of colleagues going through their presentation paces definitely has a galvanising impact around the room.

In every group there’ll be someone who tells us they hate either having their picture taken or the sound of their own voice. Bring the two together and that’s torture, right?

Fortunately, virtually all can see the benefit of being able to look in on how others see them. They take on board the constructive feedback on what would give their performance another important percentage point boost.

Point out that modulating tone of voice or using hands to emphasise a key point will bring its rewards – and there will be understanding nods. The learning is cemented if we show on screen how these relatively slight changes will aid any type of presentation or speech.

Wherever possible we ask delegates to brave the cameras three times during a day.

The first time gets the nerves and awkwardness out of the way. The second provides opportunity for a detailed review. And the third is the ‘give it everything’ performance. The transformation from one to three can be obvious for all to see.

Presenting rarely pops up as the favourite part of any delegate’s job. For most though, they know it’s a necessity.

Many have reached mid-manager positions without any presentation skills training and either believe they’re fine as they are – or try to minimise their days in the spotlight.

Make a good impression

But from team meetings, to sales pitches, to board and budget reports and communicating with all manner of internal and external customers, it’s wasteful to downplay how important a skill this is.

A little focus can go a long way in raising your chances of making a good impression.

Last year I took part in a presentation training morning which featured some seriously impressive communicators and business leaders. All those gathered there that day were looking for words of wisdom to transform their own pitching skills.

The number one learning from TV presenters, millionaires and bright young entrepreneurs?
Practise, practise, practise. Prepare what you’re going to say, rehearse it – out loud – and leave as little to chance as possible.

I’d add another criminally under-used technique to get an audience on your side.

Smile. The results can be astonishing.

Smile while making eye contact and most people will reciprocate. We are pre-programmed to want to like people. If you can build on that connection then your presentation is already off to a strong start.