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The Perfect Presentation: Speaking

In part 3 of a 6-week series, you'll learn how to deliver your material like a seasoned presenter.
July 20, 2007

Presenting to investors or potential clients is a daunting task. There's a lot at stake; the future of your business depends on whether you deliver a stellar presentation. If that isn't enough to make you nervous, then a career in politics is probably for you. But for the rest of us, the ability to be a great speaker rarely comes naturally. That's why we've compiled a list of the best speaking tips--from body language and vocal delivery to what to do when you forget what to say--to help you deliver the perfect presentation.

Overcoming Nerves
"The best advice I can give is to over-prepare," says Carmine Gallo, a former CNN business correspondent and author of the upcoming book Fire Them Up!. "Prepare to the extreme--what you're going to say, when you're going to say it, and what you're going to do to demonstrate it."

Body Language
"Body language speaks volumes even before you say a word," he adds, so set the tone of the presentation by having a commanding presence from the beginning.

Vocal Delivery

Buying Time When You Forget
If you keep your presentation concise, you shouldn't have a problem remembering what to say. Most people are only going to remember two to three key points anyway, which should be easy to commit to memory. But don't try to memorize your points word for word. "That's where people get stumped, and they don't know what to say," says Gallo. "If you have everything scripted in your head, and you get to a point in the script where you forget your next line, you're stumped."

If you find yourself blank, with nothing to say, Swanson offers the following tips for buying time:

Responding to Questions

Swanson offers the following additional tips:

Other articles in "The Perfect Presentation Series":

Week 1: Materials

Week 2: Technology