How to achieve an engaging and successful presentation


Teambuild competitor giving a presentation at the event


One of the key benefits that Teambuild participants report as part of their training and experience is a big improvement in presentation skills.

Here, Chairman of Teambuild’s working party, Richard Brindley of R Brindley Consult Ltd, former Executive Director of the RIBA shares some key training tips to help improve presentation skills.



  • 10 points to consider when planning your presentation
  • 7 steps in preparing your presentation
  • The format of an effective presentation
  • Key things to remember while presenting


10 key points to consider when planning your presentation

  1. What does your audience want to know?
    The most important question is not what you wish to communicate, but what your audience wants to learn from your presentation. Consider this carefully.
  2. What is the best way to present to this audience?
    Which mediums will be most effective to communicate what your audience wishes to know? Will a short video engage your audience? Are graphs important? Will powerful images have the most impact? Could you use hand out materials or practical demonstrations and realistically what can you prepare that will appear slick and professional with the time and resources that you have at your disposal?
  3. What information will you choose to present and what will you leave out?
    Curating the information you share is critical. You want enough to ensure the audience has learned what they wish to know, but not so much they are overwhelmed by confusing, complex or simply too much information. Take time to find out how long the presentation should be. There may be a specific time limit which you should not exceed. To help you achieve this, it is a good idea to select only what you think you need to include, then practice and time your presentation, and adjust it as necessary to keep within the pre-set or your self-set time limit..”
  4. What is your identity as a team?
    Who is presenting is often as important to the audience as what you are presenting. Consider your team identity, your credentials and credibility and what tone you wish to strike with the audience to ensure they engage with you.
  5. What will be the roles of those presenting?
    Ensuring that each person has a clearly defined role and that everyone understands who is presenting different elements of the overall presentation is key in presenting a professional message and conveying strong and effective teamwork.
  6. How will you ensure clarity and understanding?
    It is easy to assume that because you understand a term or concept or complexities of a certain issue that your audience will. Test out your presentation and always ask yourself if the average audience member is highly likely to understand without the need for further explanation. Also will graphics or images help you to convey your message more clearly.
  7. How will you create empathy with the client?
    You can present the most comprehensive and concise solution to a client, but if your client feels you have not listened to or understood their requirements they will disengage. Asking good questions and actively listening to your clients answers, repeating back what they have said, using anecdotes that demonstrate your understanding of their needs and the emotions that are likely to arise are simple ways to create empathy
  8. What are your key points/messages?
    Understand two or three key points or messages, restate and re-enforce these at the beginning and end of your presentation?
  9. How will the audience remember you?
    What will make you memorable? Use of humour, a story, a unique approach to the presentation?
  10. Why you?
    If you are pitching to a client or presenting a proposal inhouse, why are people going to choose your ideas and solutions or you or your team to deliver?


Preparing for a presentation: key steps

STEP 1: Understand the brief – read the requirements and instructions and ensure you have understood. Ask questions in advance if need be.

STEP 2: Understand the client — what are their values, goals, needs and what is their decision-making process?

STEP 3: Understand the project – what are the key objectives, constraints and opportunities

STEP 4: Understand your team – what are the strengths, weaknesses, personalities and talents of the individuals and how can you ensure the strongest outcome?

STEP 5: Decide your Strategy – outline your approach, note your key points and clearly identify and communicate your ‘USP’

STEP 6: Deliver the Task – follow the instructions and keep to deadlines. Allow ‘float’ time for unexpected delays or for tasks taking longer than anticipated

STEP 7: Practice – test your presentation, rehearse then practice more!



The format of an effective presentation

Begin with impact – Start with a memorable key point, introduce the team, gain the audience’s attention quickly.

Tell a story – Give context and meaning, take the audience on a journey, tell them a story about their project with them as the stars!

Keep it relevant – Audiences only pay attention to ideas and proposals that are immediately relevant and attractive to them.

Make it simple & clear – also short and sweet.

Use simple graphics, readable fonts, understandable language

Have memorable key points – maximum 3 messages that are memorable, dramatic, most relevant to client/project.

Create empathy – reassure the audience of your understanding , commitment and relevance for their project.

End on a high note – Consider a USP / key message to remember you by, which answers the ‘Why you?” question.



Key things to remember while presenting

Before you start
Be prepared, check any AV equipment and presentation material, focus, relax and smile!

Meet & Greet
Go in as a team, introduce everyone with enthusiasm and clarity of role / purpose

Address the audience
Focus on the audience, not your notes or slides, positive body language, pay attention – all the team!

Observe reactions
Is the audience attentive? What is their body language telling you? How are they responding to your key points?

Expect the unexpected
Be prepared for interruptions, things to go wrong, etc. Don’t panic, regain control and carry on.

Keep to time
Finish before the time limit which has been agreed before the presentation, time yourself.

Prepare for questions that the client is likely to ask, engage the client with questions of your own, start a conversation.

Farewells – leave / end with thanks, confirming your enthusiasm for the project and, if possible, a relevant ‘bon mot’.


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