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9 Simple Strategies for Making a Successful Business Presentation

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Brian O'Connell is President of CPA Site Solutions, a niche web design firm providing CPA websites and other marketing services to CPA, Accounting, Bookkeeping, and Tax Preparation firms nationwide.A serial entrepreneur, Brian founded two other highly successful companies early in his career.

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Important Tips for a Successful Business Presentation

Sooner or later we all wind up in front of a crowd. Here are some simple strategies for making your next business presentation a success.

Sooner or later, we’ll all be called upon to make a business presentation.  Sometimes, this presentation is for a single person we already know.  Other times, it can be in front of a crowd that we’ve never met.

Regardless of who we’re speaking to, we want our audience to remain interested in what we have to say.  The audience doesn’t have to agree with us, but we also don’t want to turn anyone away because of how we present ourselves.

Here are some tips to help make your next presentation even more effective.

1. Know Your Audience
Who are we going to be speaking to, and why are they coming to listen to us talk?  What sort of things are they interested in, and what can we do to keep them intrigued by our presentation?  For example, if we’re making a presentation to accountants about why it’s important to have a website, we will need to tell them why it’s important to have a website and what a website can do for them. If using a website as a tool to increase clients is their main goal, we need to ensure we talk about why a website can drive more traffic and new clients to them.

2. Know Your Topic
If we don’t know the ins and outs of our topic,  we will not be able to answer questions from our audience.  Before giving our presentation, we can talk to friends, relatives, or colleagues to find out what kind of things they’d like to know about our topic.  Each person will view the topic from a slightly different angle so we can find out many questions we may not have thought of.

3. Be Authentic
If we’re not passionate or don’t believe in our message, how will be able to successfully convey our message?  If we’re supposed to tell an audience why some new legislation is absolutely critical for the country, we need to believe that is the case.  Ideally, we should be passionate about something we’re going to speak about, but if we’re not, we need to find something in it that we can stand behind so we can accurately present how we feel.  Otherwise, our audience won’t believe our point of view any more than we do.

4. Tell Stories to Illustrate Your Point
Instead of telling our listeners why it’s best to use a product or service to achieve a goal, tell the audience a story.  Our story can talk about someone that used this particular product or service and the difference it made for them.  People may be more likely to remember a story rather than a bulleted list of benefits or features.

5. Keep the Talk Brief and To The Point

The longer a talk goes on, the less likely our audience will be able to retain all of your points.  While there may not be an exact guideline for what the length should be, we definitely don’t want to make our business presentation longer just for the sake of filling up the entire time slot.  It’s better to have a shorter talk and then have an open discussion or Q and A session afterward to talk about what we presented.

Charts, Graphs, and Visual Aids
Sometimes, we’ll also need slides to accompany our presentation. Very few mistakes will bore and frustrate the audience of a business presentation as quickly or a thoroughly as improper use of visual aids. It will also earn you outright contempt from experienced presenters in your audience, so here are a few additional tips on what we can do to prevent our message being lost to a slideshow.

  • Make the talk the focus and the slides a supplement. Over dependence on slides is a sure sign of a bad presenter. If we’re providing a talk to an audience, we need to ensure our talk (and not our slides) remains the focus.  If our slides can stand alone without us, then there’s no reason to provide a talk at all — and that’s not the reason we’re here.  Our slides should enhance our talk, not distract from it.
  • Make slides simple. Removing extraneous, distracting information from our slides is a great way to help maintain the audience’s focus.  If we have too much text or too many images, our audience may end up concentrating on what the slides says than what we say.  In general, have as little text as possible on the slide.  Make our voice the focal point.
  • Provide printed materials after the session. Our audience may not be prepared to take notes.  In many cases, if they’re taking notes, they may not be paying attention to the rest of our details.  It’s a good idea to provide printed materials with notes about our talk, but provide them after the presentation.  Otherwise, we risk losing the audience to reading the notes rather than paying attention to our talk.  However, we should mention at the beginning of our talk that the materials will be provided.
  • If possible, leave the lights on. When the lights are on, the audience may be able to remain more alert and will be able to see you better so they can focus on you and what you’re saying.

These are just a few preparations we can take before we make our presentation.  Knowing our audience is certainly part of it, but also presenting our true selves to our audience also is important.  Finally, if we’re making a visual presentation with a slideshow, we should definitely keep in mind that we want that slideshow to complement our talk and not distract from it.

About the Author

Brian O’Connell is the owner and founder of CPA Site Solutions, one of the country’s most successful web design companies in the United States dedicated exclusively to accounting websites. His company presently provides websites for more than 5000 CPA and accounting firms.



  1. Great tips Brian! I agree with keeping it on topic and to the point. I don’t think anyone wants to hear you ramble on about something that has nothing to do with the presentation you are giving. Knowing your audience is also important, knowing the age mark and so forth, will help you establish better points to present.

  2. Whilst I hope I never have to actually do it, these are some awesome tips to keep in mind, just in case. ;-) lol
    Dennis Edell | Ditrect Sales Marketing recently posted..WordPress 32 is on it’s Way! Do You Meet the Minimum System RequirementsMy Profile

  3. ADriel D, Chaney jr. says:

    This is saturday June 11th 2011; I’m sitting in my living room of my townhouse in Ky and this is the very first reply to a blog. I’m excited for this opportunity, thankyou. now on to the subject of business presentation. When i was in college we we required to take a senior eminar class in presentation irregardless of the major. The student was require to give a orla presentation with power point and 20 pg foot noted paper. My point is that, I completely agree with the points that you made here. There are many tools and teacher, like myself, who are willing to teach you what you must know in detail when it comes to business presentation or nay presentaton for that matter. Modle after the very best is my recommendation, this’ll cut the learning curve by atlease half, in most cases 75%.

    Great speaking with you guys
    - Adriel C.

  4. This is a very informative article. Like the saying goes, “presentation is everything!” I strongly agree with point 3, where we should be authentic. Believing in the topic of conversation yourself builds trust within the audience too. We have to portray that what we are talking about is a experience of our own life, with which we have benefitted from and now we are willing to share the same information for others to succeed as well.
    Zarina Hussain recently posted..Are We Losing Our Ability to CommunicateMy Profile

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