This past month, we decided to shake things up and host a special workshop instead of our usual bi-monthly Coffee Chat. Our hands-on Talk Like a Boss Presentation Workshop taught participants how to eliminate bad presentation habits, while acquiring new tips and tools to use when speaking in front of others. 

On Tuesday, September 17, strategic communications expert Dave Yewman and long-time PR pro Pattie Tobias-Renouard coached us through a mini two-hour presentation workshop where we learned to pitch ourselves and/or our organization, identify common mistakes like non-words or bad body language, and develop a newfound confidence when speaking in front of others.  

Here are a few of our key takeaways: 

Create an inverted presentation pyramid

To plan what you’re going to say, take out a piece of paper and write the most important line at the top. Below that, write your “so what?” — why what you’re saying matters — followed by three or four supporting details to buttress your argument. Developing your presentation in the form of an inverted pyramid ensures you captivate your audience from the very beginning and hold their interest throughout. 

Record yourself speaking

When you first start practicing, take a video of yourself speaking, either with the help of a friend, coworker or on your own. Afterwards, watch the video and make note of any bad presentation habits you may be using, including poor body language, improper tone and use of non-words such as “um” or “like.” This will give you a sense of what to keep in mind while you’re presenting on the big day. After you’ve gone through a few practice rounds, record yourself again to track how you’ve improved. 

Practice, practice, practice! 

As Dave Yewman explained during the presentation, everyone you see speaking confidently and fluidly has practiced more than 100 times in the bathroom mirror. The only way you’re going to get better is if you take the time to practice until you feel confident doing it without making any mistakes. 

Great presentation skills go a long way and will prepare you for almost any setting, whether it be a business pitch, networking event or casual family reunion. Mastering your presentation skills takes time and a lot of practice. Develop what you want to say, record yourself practicing as if it’s the real deal, and practice until your delivery is nearly perfect. Now, it’s time to go out there and talk like a boss!