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Effective Presentation: Build Confidence For Speaking To An Audience by Phil Crothers

By Yekti Crow
January 22 2021

Posted in Blog, Bootcamp Highlights, Student Resources

Summer Talk - How To Deliver A Kick-Ass Presentation

This summer we’ve been running our Summer Talk Series with topics that will help you succeed in your internship journey. These talks are delivered by our amazing industry mentors and include some legendary pro-tips. Today’s focus is (drum roll please)… How to Deliver a Kick-Ass Presentation!

Phil Crothers (Learning Experience Business Partner at Xero) has done public speaking engagements for almost two decades, once in front of an audience of 30,000!

Most people recognize the all-too-familiar anxiety that often accompanies a presentation. Phil began his talk by sharing his own experience with this feeling – it’s perfectly normal to experience nerves when presenting. In his eyes, it’s important to know how to work with the pre-presentation jitters, not against them. 

So without further ado… Here are 10 key ways to prepare for a presentation!

1. Confidence

Knowing what you are talking about gives you confidence. One of the first things to do is to set your expectations, focus on the purpose of why you are doing this presentation and imagine what success looks like for you.

2. Passion, excitement, energy!

Your audience can feel your energy when you are presenting and talking to them. Presenting is about convincing your audience that your content is important. Speak with enthusiasm – show them that your topic matters.

3. Be yourself

Phil’s best advice – “The better you know yourself, the better chance you will succeed”. Don’t be afraid to experiment with different presentation styles – you will find what works best for you!

4. Voice modulations

Audience responds to voice modulations. Consider adjusting and changing your tone of voice to emphasize your important points and to keep your audience engaged.

5. K.I.S.S – Keep It Short and Simple!

The first 5 minutes of your presentation is key. Humans have very short attention spans and you need to leverage that. Practice your presentation and cut to the chase before your audience’s attention is drifting away. You can open the floor for questions after your presentation.

6. Connect with your audience, be present

There are many ways to interact with your audience, the simplest way is to ask them questions. You can open your presentation by asking general questions such as “How many of you are familiar with the X, Y, Z concept?” Another pro-tip from Phil is to use “what else?” instead of “anything else?” The former implies that you are keen to hear your audience’s inputs, and aren’t rushing to end your presentation.

7. Storytelling and humour

Audiences love a good story and a laugh! Give your presentation a narrative structure, and if you’re comfortable doing so consider using humour to connect with your audience. It’s all about balance – too many jokes, and they might wonder how serious you are about the topic. Everything in moderation!

8. Repetition

Try to list out a couple of key messages that you want your audience to remember and repeat them in different parts of your presentation.

9. Practice planning and clarity

Victory loves preparation! Don’t hesitate to ask a friend to be your audience and give you feedback. You can also practice in the mirror until you feel confident.

10. Do a tech check

A good slide tech isn’t key, but it absolutely helps. Make it neat, clear, not too much text and it will help you in delivering your presentation. Come early to your presentation venue and check all the tech works. Your audience’s time is precious!


Thank you Phil and Xero for the awesome presentation. And best of luck to the interns who will be presenting at the end of the summer – we know you’ll smash it! 

Our amazing speakers are all volunteers. If you’d like to speak at one of our events, feel free to contact us at info@summeroftech.co.nz. We’d love to hear your wisdom!

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