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When you have to give a presentation, it really does pay to be professional. Slick and polished. But it also pays to know your stuff. Since you don't want to look shifty. And, in simple communications terms, that's probably far more important in the long run.

Don't look shifty

Don' Look Shifty When You Give Your Next Big Presentation

That's because most of your audience will see right through you if you don't know your stuff. Yes, they really can tell. Since it's clear as day.

And that's a problem. Because the purpose of your presentation is for you to have a communication between you and your audience. A two-way communication. Yes, you are speaking, but your audience is believing…if you get it right. It's two-way communication.

Don't Look Shifty As You Present

And that communication does also depend upon trust. It depends upon a sense of connection between you and your audience. That's because your audience has to listen. Then, they have to understand and, of course, they need to believe you.

However, you should also know that your audience won't believe you if they don't trust you. Indeed, you can't escape from that. If they sense that you are lying to them, then your purpose as a presenter is over.

So, if your audience senses that you are distorting the truth. If they sense that you are distorting the facts or, the stories you're telling are not entirely true, then you have an issue.

Perhaps the statistics that you use in your presentation distort the truth a little? That's a problem. For you.

Yes it's rare. It's very rare indeed. But it does happen.

Why do we make these points? Well, it's certainly the case that after today's presentation by the Health secretary, Matt Hancock, social media appears to be filled with stories that he looked a bit shifty. Uncomfortable. Hesitant. And that's not a good look for any presenter.

Is there a lie involved? Nobody really knows. But, typically someone who's "shifty looking" senses or suspects that people are going to catch them out. They sense that they will be caught. Again, it's not a good look.

And therein lies, of course, the real challenge with lying or telling a deceit during your presentation.

There's a huge imminent danger that you will be caught out. And that, of course, runs counter to your objectives. Because every presenter wants to have a solid communication with their audience. It's true!

The Uncomfortable Truth

So, was Matt Hancock, telling the truth today? Who knows.

The new variant first discovered in Kent – which comprises now a significant number of our cases now – is spreading 30 to 70% more easily than the existing variant. Based on analysis conducted by academic colleagues in a variety of studies there is a realistic possibility that this variant may be associated with increased mortality compared to the old variant – as well as increased transmission.

But, you'd like to think that a Government Minister would be above a little deception or two. Wouldn't you?

Of course. However, he certainly looked uncomfortable as he delivered his message today. But you don't need to when you give your next presentation. You want to engage your audience.

Don't Look 'Shifty' When You Give A Presentation

If you have to give a presentation, then you really do need to know your stuff.

  • Practice beforehand. In your presentation environment, practice with the microphone, practice with the autocue. And also practice with the slides that you're going to use. PowerPoint or Apple keynote, perhaps
  • Make sure that your story is succinct and clear. And ensure that you really do know the delivery order for your material.
  • You should also know your audience. So, Your job is to know your audience, anticipate the questions they might ask, anticipate the areas of concern they might have and finally, anticipate the direction of travel they might take with their questions.
  • And then prepare for those questions. Since once you're fully prepared, your presentation should really pay off.

Good luck.

Clearly we hope that you can get yourself ready for your next presentation since you'll find plenty of top presentation skills tips here. And when you want to pursue your presentation skills that bit further, then please don't hesitate to get in touch.


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About the Author

The Principal Trainer at training business Time to Market. Based in Oxford, I run presentation and public speaking training courses, coaching sessions and seminars throughout the UK.

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