pres skills Oct17Do you like presenting? Maybe the more important question is, are you any good at it?

Presenting, in its simplest form, is the sharing of an idea or thought to one or more people. It can be done in any context, whether to your friends, classmates or colleagues; when you are discussing an idea, making a case or providing information, you are presenting.

Being able to present a clear, persuasive story through presentations has fast become a fundamental requirement in the workplace. In fact presentation skills have a role to play in almost every job there is. If presentations aren’t delivered well; managers fail to inspire their employees; sales aren’t made; entrepreneurs don’t get funded; ideas don’t get shared and progress is halted.

Think about the last really good presentation you saw – what was good about it? Quite often the best presentations are the simplest. They don’t use fancy transitions or graphics, or bombard you with scary statistics and overwhelming theories. Great presentations are stripped of distraction and leave you feeling motivated to make a decision, or driven to take an action.

When it comes to structuring any sort of presentation, the opening is the key. The first 20 to 30 seconds of any presentation is the peak of your audience’s engagement. You have to capture their interest within this time or you risk losing them for the rest of the presentation. Ask a question; make a daring statement; tease them in a way that gets them hooked. Next is the transition phase, where you provide all of the information and give key points for your audience to take away. Finally, when bringing it to a close, you complete your presentation by tying it all back to your opening. This is your last chance to capture the minds of your audience, and leave them with a feeling or call to action. Sounds easy enough, doesn’t it?

The truth is, not everyone is comfortable with presenting – in fact, most of us do our best to avoid it. But this is becoming harder and harder to do. The ability to communicate and present your ideas, both formally and informally, is essential for success in the modern workplace. So how do you learn to like presenting? Practise, practise, practise!

One of the main reasons people shy away from presenting is because they aren’t very good at it, and as with any skill, improving your ability to deliver a good presentation means lots of practice. The more you practise, the more comfortable with it you become, the better you deliver it and the better you captivate your audience. After all, a presentation isn’t really successful if your audience isn’t engaged.


About Lighthouse Business Innovation Centre
Lighthouse has a strong track record of supporting entrepreneurs, researchers and inventers on the path from concept to commercialisation. Since July 2008, Lighthouse has worked with over 990 distinct enterprises and provided group and peer based services to over 3400 enterprises and individuals. For over five years Lighthouse has successfully delivered business advice, education, mentorship and networking opportunities to help these businesses commercialise their ideas and grow their companies. Lighthouse also delivers programs such as the ACT Microcredit Program for the ACT Government. Visit for more information.