NextGen Know-How: 6 strategies to deliver impactful presentations

Preparation and practice can make a big difference whether you’re a fearful or confident public speaker.

Earlier in my career, my VP asked me to prepare and deliver a presentation to our board of directors on a project we were leading. I had very little experience speaking in front of people, and I was terrified. I remember filling each PowerPoint slide with information, hoping to wow my audience with detailed data and lots of bullet points. My face flushed and my voice shook as I delivered my presentation and answered questions.

Once I was done, I was certain I didn’t want to ever present again, but my manager encouraged me to find opportunities to speak more so I could increase my leadership presence. With continued practice, presenting became easier and more natural.

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, glossophobia, the fear of public speaking, affects 40% of the population. (This number was previously reported as 73%, but you get the idea—many people dread having to present in front of others.) Yet developing your presentation and influence skills will increase your leadership effectiveness. And in our post-COVID world, leaders now have to be prepared to present virtually as well as in person.

Delivering a successful presentation involves connecting with your audience and providing concise and valuable information. Whether you are presenting to the board of directors or your departmental team, the following six best practices will ensure you design and deliver an impactful presentation.


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