Have to Give a Presentation? Here Are 8 Quick Tips To Go From Zero to Hero

Lee Odden Speaking in LondonYou’ve heard the saying, “What’s the one thing people fear more than death? Public Speaking”.

That’s why so few people do it. That’s why I avoided it at all costs for many years.

But then I became so interested and passionate about the work I was doing, I decided to accept a speaking request in 2005. At 7am in the James J. Hill Library in St. Paul, I presented “Organic SEO, PPC, Blogging – What does it all mean?” to a group of about 70 people.

And I didn’t die.

Since then, I’ve given presentations all over the world, from New York to London to Hong Kong and next month Madrid and Moscow.

20 Plus Tips on How to Optimize Your Presentations & Public Speaking

Optimize Public Speaking PresentationsWhat does it mean to “optimize” your presentations? Keywords in your speech? Including your Twitter handle on all slides? Repurposing the slide content through Slideshare, Flickr, Visual.ly and on blogs? The answer is yes – all of the above. And more.

More marketing and communications pros are getting on board with the idea that public speaking is fuel for content marketing. The problem is, the focus on creation and promotion centers around individual content objects or presentations.

An optimized presentation strategy means having a narrative or story that includes your brand’s key messages and how the live presentation is connected to other content objects.

A live presentation can be connected to other content objects like a research report which might be connected to a series of blog posts which are connected to individual digital assets like images, polls, influencer interviews, infographics, press releases, podcasts and so on. You get the idea.

Warning: Do Not Read This If You Want to Give Awesome Presentations

Optimize Presentations

Danger! Don’t Optimize Presentations to Suck. Image via Shutterstock

Over the past 5 years I’ve given a few hundred presentations in front of crowds from 10 to 1,000.

I also make sure to attend other speakers’ presentations, sometimes to delight and sometimes to horror.

Despite that experience, I’m far from a perfect speaker. But I am passionate, knowledgeable and continuously trying to optimize my speaking skills. Part of this comes from feedback but also from watching people give presentations.

There are many mistakes I’ve made that all could have been avoided. I have a feeling this is the case for many. Whether you give presentations at conferences or internally, here are a few tips on what to avoid.