Presentations 101: Tips To Creating An Effective Presentation

So be sure when you step, Step with care and great tact. And remember that life’s A Great Balancing Act. And will you succeed? Yes! You will, indeed! (98 and ¾ percent guaranteed) Kid, you’ll move mountains.” ~Dr. Seuss, Oh, The Places You’ll Go! 

Presentations 101

Having an opportunity to share your ideas and thoughts with people is a tremendous gift. The idea that your words can impact people in so many different ways is so energizing for me. Whether it’s about branding, personal development, how to presentations or just reviewing a case study…I LOVE IT. I also love hearing other people present and always walk away with pages of notes that influence my personal and professional life.
Whenever I am invited to speak, I ask a series of questions to help me determine what to focus on.

  • What are they trying to accomplish?
  • How can I help them?
  • Who is their audience?
  • Where are they coming from (backgrounds, experiences, knowledge of the topics, etc.)?
  • What presentations have they enjoyed the most in the past?

Then I start asking about the goals of having me there.

  • Is it simply to motivate and rally people?
  • Is it to help provide a sense of direction and set priorities?
  • Is it to tell my stories so they can learn and do it bigger and better?
  • Is it to provide actionable directions for a specific project?
  • Is it to create a stronger sense of team?

The next round of questions usually involves the format and time available.

  • Will we have several days or just minutes together?
  • What is the agenda?
  • Where will this presentation fit, and what comes before and after?

Will I be presenting with someone else or going solo?

Once I have these answers, I can start to determine the main points that should be covered and the level of interaction with the audience (team building activities, small group discussions, etc.). My brain automatically starts thinking in PowerPoint even if I won’t be using it during the actual presentation. It is an easy way to outline the presentation and focus on key points. Once I have the PowerPoint constructed, I create the intro and summary notes and add notes to every slide. I think back to books I have read that might be helpful to this audience or quotes that might trigger a new thought or inspire someone. I try to provide a new tool they might not be aware of that can help make them more efficient (Google alerts, VideoStar, etc.)

After the presentation is complete, I rehearse it and adjust the number of slides, flow of material, and speed. My rehearsals tend to be very content based and straight-forward. The part I enjoy most is bringing the presentation to life with the audience. It really isn’t complete until you are with the people who you are working with. They are the missing piece, and when you are all gathered in the room it just feels right. This is where I take liberties to add a funny story or tell a personal challenge and how I learned from that mistake. It is a great feeling when people ask questions, take notes, and get involved – when they don’t think of it as me presenting but more of ‘let’s learn together’.
Receiving emails and feedback after my sessions is very rewarding. It’s wonderful to hear from people to hear how and if they were impacted.

“Thank you for all that you did to make the Leadership Empowerment Institute a success. You were the star of the conference. I really appreciate your wisdom, energy, and your magnetic smile, and I hope to work with you in the future.” ~ Greg Gibson, National Black MBA Association-Austin Chapter, Conference Chair

To me, the most important thing is to think back to the presentations you have enjoyed most. Ask yourself…

  • What did you like about them?
  • What presentations did you not like and why?

Always assessing the value of what I am presenting is important. If I were sitting in the audience, would I walk away feeling like my investment of time and resources was used wisely or wasted? Were there a few ah-ha moments that I can point to and learn from?
Having the opportunity to share your thoughts, ideas, and experiences with others is truly a gift and not one to be taken lightly. Whether you are presenting this week’s status report or ideas to change the world, do not take the opportunity to stand in front of a captive audience lightly. Be clear, concise and passionate. One of my new favorite words is ‘enthusiastic‘. It means having or showing intense and eager enjoyment, interest, or approval.

Speak ENTHUSIATICALLY and you will be great!


In The News

Armbruster Consulting Group is excited to be partnering with two new clients, Project Open Hand and Run Just For Today, and look forward to helping them achieve their missions.  To learn more about them, visit their websites. and

Rachel was recently interviewed by Lipstick Unplugged where she talked about, “How to Build a Respected Brand.” To listen to the interview, visit

To check out Rachel’s key take-a-ways from RWR 2013, visit

Resource Links

Below is a list of resources we hope you will find helpful.  Each month, we will provide links to resources that we have come across and enjoyed. If there is a link you want to share, post it in the comments section.

  • – Inspiring videos from people who have ideas worth spreading through events in their communities.
  • Join Toastmasters – A non-profit educational organization that teaches public speaking and leadership skills through a worldwide network of meeting locations.

Take a PowerPoint class – Lessons to help do the things you typically do to create and prepare a presentation. Have a designer make your presentation beautiful.