Become a master of work presentations with these top tips

John Sherman

According to the Social Science Research Network (SSRN), 65 percent of people are visual learners. That means if you hold a meeting, training session, or some other work-related gathering, unless you use some type of visual aid, you’ll probably lose the majority of your audience’s attention within minutes. Although you have many different options, slideshow presentations still reign supreme.


Types of Presentations 

Regardless of which type of presentation you decide on, an excellent way to help your staff absorb and retain the information shared is by using a PowerPoint slideshow or some other visual aid. Each of the options listed below boasts unique capabilities and advantages. Keep in mind that for training purposes, it’s especially important to select the appropriate type of presentation.

Informative Speech

An informative speech is the most commonly used form of presenting research data. With this, your Learning and Development (L&D) Manager has the opportunity to present specific findings in a systematic way that people understand.

Demonstrative Speech

As the name implies, this presentation involves communicating with your employees through some kind of demonstration. Whether that’s how to work machinery, install a component, or make the perfect wedding cake, you want to use slides that contain images along with step-by-step instructions to drive the message home. 

Persuasive Speech

The goal of this presentation is to encourage your employees to see things differently than they currently do. For instance, if you want to emphasize the importance of an open-door policy among your leadership team or help your employees understand the value of eating nutritional foods, this would be the correct presentation to use. In other words, this presentation works to change thinking patterns about a particular issue or topic. 

Inspirational Speech

Do you want to “light a fire” under your sales and marketing team, show your employees how a new product solves problems, or perhaps you have young employees who need a gentle push to help them feel excited about achieving success within your organization? An inspirational speech works to motivate people and push them toward a goal.

Combination Speech

For a presentation to make the greatest impact, consider combining a little bit of each type of speech. You can still focus on a primary topic but at the same time, cover more bases. 

Creating Powerful Presentations

For a presentation to have the intended impact on your employees, it’s vital that you include the right leaders during the planning phase. If you want to organize a corporate-wide training program, you need input from your HR Director, L&D Manager, and even your Compliance Manager. However, for a presentation that’s more department-focused, you want your HR Director and the department head to brainstorm together.

Regardless of the presentation, and whether you’re organizing in-house training for a large group or sharing information obtained through an online course for a select number of employees, success starts by creating a compelling and memorable message.

See Things from the Employees’ Perspective

When putting a presentation together, try to see things from your employees’ viewpoint. By drafting a speech with humor, emotion, storytelling, and interesting facts, you will have a captivated audience.

Choose the Right Topic

You don’t want to give presentations just for the sake of saying you did. Instead, there must be a point for the meeting or training session. Some reasons include a new product rollout, launching a new service, utilizing different equipment or machinery, and bringing your employees up-to-date on compliance issues. Select a topic that will ultimately benefit both your staff and the organization.

Never Cram

Instead of a catch-all, a presentation should have one focus and one goal. If you have multiple topics to address, you can either create additional presentations or have the applicable staff members complete training courses online. That way, you don’t hold up production for the sake of covering everything with one swipe. 

Check the Facts

Before finalizing a presentation, including the supporting documentation that you pass out to employees, double and even triple check all facts. Along with that, make sure your spelling and grammar are on point. 

Practice, Practice, Practice

Just like “location, location, location” is vital in the real estate world, practice is critical when preparing for presentations. The more you practice the better the results.  

Provide Supporting Material

A common mistake made by presenters is having employees take notes. Since everyone has a unique perception, there’s no guarantee they’re all writing down the same message. Therefore, prepare supporting materials and pass them out before giving your presentation.

Remember, the material you hand out should support the topic of the speech. At no time do you want to give your employees a copy of the slides themselves as that makes you look lazy and disinterested. 

Delivering an Impactful Presentation

After creating a killer presentation comes the fun, and also nerve-wracking part: delivering the message. Use the following tips to ensure your employees engage.

Establish Your Credentials

From the minute that you take the stage, put your credentials on display. That doesn’t mean going over your entire career bio, but rather providing important details that let your employees know you’re a person of authority on the topic and in the industry. As a credible presenter, your audience is more likely to pay close attention.

Reveal a Goal

Early on, let your staff know the goal of the presentation. Whether you’re there to get input about a new product, service, or process, setting and revealing the goal helps people relate and it’ll keep you on task.


Even when addressing a serious topic, a compliance issue pertaining to workplace safety for example, not only do you want to inform your employees, but it’s also important entertain them to some degree. Remember, giving a presentation in front of a live audience is entirely different than sending out an internal email. Therefore, you need to appeal to their emotions, which comes from both passion and humor.

Create a Catch Phrase

As stated by Jeremy Choi, a highly respected entrepreneur, leader, and professional presenter, “Create a single sentence description for every service, product, or idea.” He explains that a presentation riddled with long descriptions appears confusing. For that reason, he stresses to keep descriptions as part of a PowerPoint presentation slide to no more than 140 characters.

Follow the 10-20-30 Rule

If you opt for a slideshow presentation in conjunction with your speech or training, never use more than 10 slides, keep the duration to 20 minutes, and use at least a 30-point font. Anything more than that will cause your staff to lose interest. If you look at reputable Learning Management Systems, you’ll see that most courses take little time to complete.

Stand Confident

While the person who gives the presentation may feel “weak in the knees,” he or she needs to stand tall and appear confident. You can help with this by offering the leaders in your company access to online courses that focus specifically on building confidence and creating poise.

Make Eye Contact

For a lot of people, especially those giving a presentation in front of a large audience, making eye contact feels uncomfortable. However, eye contact helps hold the group’s attention, allowing for the message to stick.

Stop Reading

Especially when using a PowerPoint slideshow when giving a presentation, never read each slide word-for-word. A speech becomes far more powerful by first understanding the message and then delivering it without referring to the slideshow. As a result, you’ll give off an air of confidence and authority that makes people listen. In other words, use PowerPoint slides to support statements as opposed to using them as a teleprompter.

Tell a Story

Perhaps the best tip on delivering a presentation is to tell a story. Provide the group with real-life illustrations and scenarios that help them relate. As an example, the presenter could share about an injury sustained due to a non-compliance issue or landing the dream job through hard work, dedication, and determination. For this, the possibilities are endless.

Utilize Technology

There’s nothing more frustrating than attending a presentation only to hear nothing because you’re seated toward the back of the room. Therefore, make sure you have all the necessary technology in place to enhance both the visual and audio experience. 

Have Open Q&A

What better way to drive a message home than with an open question and answer session following a presentation? When you are finished with the speech, encourage your employees to ask questions followed by you or a member of your leadership team providing the correct answer. Along with helping your employees learn, this is an excellent way to boost morale, in that it makes your staff feel valued.

Along with what your employees ask, throw out some thought-provoking questions of your own. Choose those that prompt forward-thinking and make your staff feel eager to learn the answer.

Show Up Early

By showing up early to give a presentation, you have the opportunity to set everything up. That way, when your employees arrive, you can start the meeting or training session right on time.

Incredible Presentation Ideas

The great thing about creating and delivering a presentation is there’s no written rule that says you have to stay within specific confines. In fact, some of the best presenters in the world, including the late Steve Jobs, have a knack for stepping outside of the box, regardless of the type of speech involved. While you and your leadership team can come up with some creative options, you might throw the following into the mix.


As mentioned, storytelling is a crucial part of any successful presentation. Even if you need to toss out a lot of facts and statistics, incorporate them in a story. By doing so, you create a story that demonstrates and supports the details provided.


Another powerful way to give a presentation involves using video. If the situation warrants, you could also incorporate background music. For instance, if you have a funeral planning business, a video showing a beautifully manicured cemetery with soothing music accompanying it would set the stage.


Although there’s talking and words that go along with a photo presentation, this entails adding images to your slideshow and letting them make a statement. The goal is to carefully choose photos that connect to the topic and resonate with your employees, but without them being too distracting.


An excellent way to present involves getting your workers involved. Rather than watch a slideshow or listen to you talk throughout the presentation, have them participate. Depending on what you want to achieve, you can select people randomly, ask for volunteers, or organize several groups of employees that work together.


When introducing a new product or going over the details of how something works, a prop presentation is ideal, In lieu of PowerPoint slides, you would use different types of visual aids. For example, if rolling out a revolutionary new smartphone, you might use a cell phone from the 1980s as a prop to stress how far technology has come.

If you have a manufacturing company that makes various types of kitchen gadgets, you could combine a prop and interactive presentation to have a few employees perform a task the old way versus the new way with a cutting-edge product.

Mistakes to Avoid

Along with all the things that you should do when creating and delivering a presentation, there are some mistakes that you want to avoid at all costs. For starters, you always want to expect the unexpected. You never know if right in the middle of a speech, the projector bulb will go out or the electricity will shut off. While not a life crisis, never give a presentation without a backup plan in place.

Also, never think you can wing a presentation. Even if you have years of experience in the industry and vast knowledge of the topic, standing before a group of employees is a completely different game. It’s usually not so much a case of bad nerves but more disorganization. This is why you want the right leadership team involved from the beginning and the reason that practicing is so vital.

One final mistake has to do with coming off as robotic. No matter the position you hold in the company, your employees know you’re human so there’s no reason to try to present yourself as perfect. Instead, smile and enjoy the process of sharing information and educating the people who work hard to help your organization succeed.

Unbeatable Online Training Opportunities

Whether using training material you find online in your presentation or offering courses to different members of your staff, Go1 is the best resource. We have a massive library of business topics in podcast, video, article, and blog format.

Go1 helps millions of people in thousands of organizations engage in learning that is relevant, effective and inspiring.
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