What to do–and not do–with your hands in a presentation

Presenter holding his hands up in a presentation

When was the last time your really thought about your hands? If you’re like most people you never really think about them. You just use them. Until you have to give a presentation. The front of the room seems to give your hands a bizarre life of their own. Show of Hands Have you ever started a presentation and suddenly felt like you didn’t know what you should do with your hands? They can suddenly feel like they need an … Continue reading

Appearance Matters—But Not Always the Way You Might Think

This week, the sport of horse racing will hold the Preakness, the second leg of its Triple Crown Series. I have covered the Preakness for 30 years. A few years back I had the chance to cover the Belmont. And this year, for the first time, I covered the Kentucky Derby. My own Triple Crown! Seeing each of these events up close, reminds me of how important context is when asked one of the most frequent questions I get regarding … Continue reading

Take Care of Your Voice in Your Presentations

G Sandusky, logo

If you’re like a lot of professionals, you spent much of your career finding your voice. The last thing you can afford is losing it in a presentation. But it happens all the time. It isn’t about having a bad vocal cords or even bad luck. Yes, allergies, illness, colds, and fatigue can have a negative effect. So can dehydration. The single biggest reason, however, that professionals lose their voice in presentations and in meetings has to do with how … Continue reading

Play Your Aces in a Presentation

Aces and a deck of cards spread out on a table

Recently I presented my full-day Presentation Transformation seminar to a group of highly talented executives at NatCon18, the national convention for behavioral health experts.  Early in the day unfolded, I noticed one woman knitting in the back of the room. It wasn’t a distraction. It was amazing. She did it effortlessly, without even thinking about it. And it didn’t distract her attention. It was part of who she was. A few minutes later, one of the men in the group shared … Continue reading

Five Mistakes That Can Kill Your Presentations

Five Mistakes that can kill your presentation

We all want to deliver a perfect presentation. I’ve been chasing that one for years. Former Green Bay Packers coach Vince Lombardi said, “Perfection is not attainable, but if we chase perfection we can catch excellence.” Not a bad destination. Excellence, Not Perfection Excellence comes not only from chasing perfection but also from avoiding the mistakes that can spoil the chase, or in this case spoil the presentation. We all make mistakes. No avoiding that. And not all of them … Continue reading

Use Black Slides Not Blank Slides

Inserting a black slide into your presentation

The more I see presentations, keynote speeches, and TED Talks, the more I am convinced of one thing: less is more. Too many presenters and speakers use too many slides because they overlook a fundamental principle: Every thing you say does not need the support of a slide. Here is a second principle that will dramatically improve your effectiveness in the front of the room: Slides serve the presenter. The presenter doesn’t serve the slides. Don’t get me wrong, slides … Continue reading

The Tools I Like to Use

G Sandusky, logo

Before I jump into to sharing the tools that I use in presentations, I want to underscore that the tools don’t make a presentation great. Good tools and great tools enhance great ideas, but they can’t prop up shallow, vacuous, or meaningless ideas and poor presentation of those ideas. Tools can have a powerful, positive impact on the overall impact of your presentation but they can’t save a bad presentation. Okay, disclaimer out of the way, let’s jump in. I’m … Continue reading

Perfect is the Wrong Target for Your Presentation

A man wearing a bullseye shirt representing the pursuit of perfect

Business writer Patrick Lencioni says, “Trying to design the perfect plan is the perfect recipe for disappointment.” He’s on to something. Lencioni has sold more than five million books. The same holds for presentations. Perfection doesn’t work there either. No one ever walked out of a business presentation and said to a colleague, “Wow, that was a perfect PowerPoint.” Never. No, you don’t want to come across as sloppy, unprepared, or unprofessional. That’s common sense. But stop short of aiming … Continue reading

How a Comedian Can Help You Improve Your Next Presentation

Comedian on Stage

On a recent trip to Las Vegas, I took my son and his friends (all over 21 years old) to a comedy club where I saw a comedian use a seamless technique to get the audience involved his routine. Any business presenter can use the same technique–without having to be funny. It comes down to this, a technique all good comedians and trial lawyers use: ask leading questions—all while the audience thinks you are just having a conversation. How the … Continue reading

A Simple Way to Share Complicated Material in a Presentation

A finger showing how to navigate complicated material in a presentation

The only thing harder than getting an audience’s attention is getting it back after you’ve lost it. Once they’re gone, they’re usually gone for good. Oh, you might still see people sitting in front of you, but they’ve checked out. And nothing gets people to check out faster in a presentation than confusing them with complicated information. That said, there are plenty of times we have to present complicated, intricate, or complex information. Do it in a way that makes … Continue reading