Strategic Human Capital Insights

3 Tools For a Well-Crafted, High-Impact Presentation

Intelligent speaker standing and lecturing at business conference in boardroomWe hope you have enjoyed our blog series on presentation skills so far.  In case you missed the first 3 blogs, you can view them here.

This is the fourth blog in our presentation skills series and it focuses on the three tools needed to make a truly impactful presentation.

Putting It All Together

We know the aim of any presentation is to impart your information to the audience ensuring they receive the information as ‘in tact’ as possible.  To achieve maximum impact, we must present with the following three tools: 

            1.  Visual Billboard

            2.  Physical and Vocal Energy 

            3.  Synchronizing the Audience with You and The Visual Billboard

This may seem obvious, but it requires careful orchestration, preparation and practice. 

1. The Visual Billboard

Always remember to follow the 4 must do’s when preparing the visual billboard.  Understand that there is tremendous power in the visual billboard.  It is the non-verbal part of the presentation.  If the visual billboard is developed with both the audience and your message in mind, it can increase the positive impact of your overall message.  However, since the visual billboard is so powerful, if it is not developed properly and doesn’t match your verbal message, the visual billboard can create visual and mental confusion to the audience.  When given a choice between your visual billboard and your verbal message – the audience will tend to believe you visual billboard over your words.  If there is confusion – your message is in trouble.  Never underestimate the importance and impact of this critical presentation tool.  This is the presentation "make or break", which all too often goes wrong.  Creating your visual billboard is the basis for your presentation.  You should spend a great deal of time on this process.  If this goes wrong, you will have flaws in your entire presentation. Remember, the audience can choose to tune you out – and it often starts with the visual billboard!   Once the audience mentally leaves your presentation, they often don’t return!

2. Physical and Vocal Energy 

For high-impact presentations, your body and voice are another integral presentation tool.  Under normal, non-pressured situations, your brain will most likely naturally engage your body and voice to mirror your words. Making presentations often causes stress.  That stress will often be counterproductive to good presentations.  Stress causes the brain to focus on the stress instead of naturally engaging your body and vocal cords.  Under presentation pressure, the body and voice can produce gestures and mannerisms that have nothing to do with the presentation material.  Our bodies can go into a frozen position.  Our gestures can become repetitive and look nervous.  Our voices can stutter, our mouths can go dry or the famous, ‘you know’ or ‘um’ can slip into our presentation to name only a few things. When our body language and vocals do not match our words or our visual billboard, we again create sight and sound confusion to the audience.  The audience can disbelieve what we are saying or think we are not confident with our message.  This visual dissonance can negatively impact our presentation.  Remember, the physical and vocal component of our message can achieve either high impact or visual dissonance.

3. Synchronizing the Audience with You and The Visual Billboard 

Now it’s time to remember that the presentation is intended for your audience.  With your visual billboard, you can fall into the trap of talking to your visuals instead of the audience.  You must use your visual billboard as your tool and you must always remember that your eyes and face don’t look at the visual but always to engage your audience, make eye contact and always face them.  The audience is your focus.  You will need to fight the urge to look to the visual billboard. It’s a natural pull for your attention.

Final Tips 

When you practice and finally present, you must:

  • Reference but not speak to your visual billboard – it’s your tool 
  • Harness your stress to allow your brain to naturally engage your physical and vocal energy
  • Sync your physical and vocal energy with your visual billboard to unify the message
  • Use your eyes and body energy to engage your audience – they are the reason you are making the presentation in the first place

Remember, you must always prepare and practice your delivery so you are optimizing the positive impact of your message.  When your visual billboard and your physical and vocal energy are in sync – you significantly increase the impact value of your presentation. This does not happen without a conscious effort.

So now, prepare and deliver a well-crafted, high-impact presentation!

In our blog series on presentation skills, we focus on the elements of great presentations and provide a framework to follow that allows you to control your message so it creates the intended impact at the highest possible level.  Just click here to read all of our presentation skills blogs.

Read Presentation Skills Series >>


Topics: Presentation Skils

Posted by Joanne Flynn

Joanne Flynn

In 2014, Joanne Flynn founded Phoenix Strategic Performance, a strategic human capital advisory firm. Prior to this, Joanne was Vice President at Goldman Sachs for 10 years responsible for global learning and development. She then led the consulting practice of Phoenix Group International, a consulting firm specializing in global financial service. Joanne is now taking best practices from the people-intensive financial services industry and adapting those best practices to startup and growth businesses. She is a thought leader in the areas of strategic organizational alignment, organizational agility, human capital gap analysis, leadership challenges for the new workplace and transformation leadership.

Subscribe to Updates

Recent Posts

Download the Human Asset Management Strategy eBook

Human Asset Management eBook

Download Your Digital Copy