Top Tips for Next Level Presentation Skills

May 17, 2017 Collaboration, Trends

Presentations tend to be a norm and still prove to be imperative in any industry (not just IT.) Whether you’re participating as the presenter or the audience, you likely have your own take on the overall presentation – the slides, the body language, the discussion, etc.  We’ve probably all seen both good and bad presentations, and while there are varying theories on how to use the slide deck – be it the 1-6-6 rule, the 10/20/30 rule, animations, or blanking the slide – there are a few key things about content and delivery that are sometimes overlooked that are vital to ensuring that your message is both heard and understood.

The manner in which a presentation is delivered is just as important as the message itself.  Regardless of your preferred rules for putting a presentation slide deck together, you should be sure to adhere to some general guidelines.

  • Present a Story. Think back to grade school when considering how to craft your story.
    1. Introduce the main character (the client)
    2. Introduce the challenge (the villain)
    3. Escalate to the peak (climax)
    4. Resolve the situation (the happy ending)
  • Ask informal, open ended questions.
  • Relay stories of other successes. Not only does this provide credit to your resolution, but it shows social proof of adoption, which is comforting to many people.
  • Limit the initial meeting and or presentation to 20 minutes.
  • Know your competition and understand your value.
  • Plan for the audience. You need to be prepared to spend appropriate amounts of time at broad, analytic, technical, and business levels – depending on your audience.  During the presentation, be prepared to shift directions based on audience responses.
  • Engage in Q&A as appropriate, but don’t get sidetracked from the overall message to deliver. Sometimes taking a note and presenting the core message, then following up with side questions is a more concise delivery.
  • Be aware of your personal communication style and body language. Remember to listen as well.
  • Remember that regardless of you slides or presentation style, the focus of the presentation is the client’s perception and reaction to the message.

These guidelines can apply to any industry or situation but as the Director of Solutions Architecture, I work daily to ensure that my team is able to effectively communicate the solutions we have designed for our clients. When you have tailored your presentation style to the key goals outlined above, your message delivery will be more relatable thus leading towards more meaningful next steps.


Duane servers as ABS’ Director of Solutions Architecture. In addition to staying ahead of the technology curve and working to ensure ABS is constantly providing clients with best in breed technology offerings, Duane manages a team of architects to design infrastructures to support a variety of complementary technologies.