The Secrets of an Effective Presentation

Brevity is the best recommendation of speech, whether in a senator or an orator. “Marcus Tullius Cicero

After having suffered through many a bad presentation, I have come to really appreciate an effective one. But what makes a good presentation? As Marquis De Vauvenargues said, Clarity is the counterbalance of profound thoughts.”But how is clarity to be achieved? By helping people understand rather than trying to impress them.So, remember what Marcus Tullius Cicero said, “Brevity is a great charm of eloquence.” Here are a few suggestions:

1.   It’s About Story Telling

A good presentation of any kind begins with a story with a personal connection that bring out the points you are trying to make.Annie Proulx said, “I find it satisfying and intellectually stimulating to work with the intensity, brevity, balance and word play of the short story.“

2.   Brevity is Bliss

The more concisely a point is made, the better your audience will receive it. William Shakespeare said, Brevity is the soul of wit.”  

3.   Clarity Is Key

And always keep in mind what Gotthold Ephraim Lessingsaid, “For me the greatest beauty always lies in the greatest clarity.” Be clear, be brief, be yourself.

4.   It’s About Communicating, Not Impressing

The goal for any presentation is to help the audience understand the matter at hand. Using terminology they may not understand, and trying to come off as brilliant by pontificating only serves to lose the audience.

5.   Know Your Audience

Every audience if different. A good presenter knows his/her audience, and caters the presentation to them.  

6.   Cover Few Points

Most people tend to have short attention spans. It is better to cover only a few points, but cover them well, and make sure the points are getting across to your audience.

7.   Nobody Likes History Lessons

Most people don’t like history lessons in presentations. As H.L. Menckenfamously said, “A historian is an unsuccessful novelist.” During a presentation, the key is the ability of the presenter to communicate, articulate, and demonstrate powers of persuasion. 

8.   It’s Not All About the Idea

Ideas are everywhere. However, few people can convey an idea succinctly and concisely so that people can understand.  

9.   Facts Are Not Elastic - Do Not Stretch Them

Don't overstate, be factual and accurate.

10.Leave Them Wanting More

A successful presentation is one where the audience is left wanting more. 


Ivan Nikkhoo

October 2018

Ivan Nikkhoo