Presentation Help by Nerds: 5 Secrets Only Pro Helpers Know

Presentation help is one of the most critical services for students who learn how to work with the audience and present their ideas.

Presentation help is based on the fact that an impressive presentation is not as hard as it may seem. A Personal Nerd, I have completed dozens of presentations and delivered hundreds of speeches. And many of them were quite a success. When I share my knowledge with clients, their assignments shine!

Now I want to share my secrets with you. Surprisingly, you need only 5 things to stand out.

Five Secrets of an Awesome Presentation

I’ve been a Personal Nerd for some years already, so I know that the idea of making a presentation makes students sweat. I’ve encountered dozens of learners feeling confused and even scared by the need to deliver a speech to even a small audience.

I’m not sure things should go this way. Time to learn secrets that run student’s nightmare into fun!

First Secret of Presentation Help: Grab Attention

Have you ever dealt with a “disconnected” audience? These guys would do anything but listening!

In fact, the disconnected audience is a valid indicator of something being wrong with your presentation. It is most likely to be…boring.

A Personal Nerd, I care that the client’s presentation shakes the audience! And here are some tricks that work 90% of the time.

  • Start with a joke: A good trick is an icebreaker. It signals the audience you are a good guy and, probably, worth listening to.

You can start your speech with:

Each of us here has a job to do. My job is to talk, and yours is to listen. The challenge is for me to finish my job before you have finished yours” or “My speech will be like the latest fashion: long enough to cover the subject but short enough to be interesting.

BTW, you can end your speech with a joke as well:

I know that I’m a great speaker. I can say that because when I make a speech, as soon as I sit down, people say it was the best thing I’ve ever done.

  • Start with an interesting fact: I’m not sure your audience has gathered to learn a bunch of universal truths. So, instead of saying something like “Education makes you succeed in life” point out that “College graduates are 177 more likely to earn $4 million or more.
  • Be interactive: I always tell my clients that reading a presentation is the surest way to lose the audience’s attention.
  • So, if you hate seeing people yawning and looking at their watch, you should engage them in the discussion. Establish eye contact, ask questions, respond to remarks, etc. In a word, do anything to avoid boredom.

Second Secret of Presentation Help: Maintain Eye Contact

I always tell my clients that delivering a speech is like acting on the scene: you’ll never win the audience until you establish eye contact.

Only 7% of communication is verbal! Mind your posture, gestures, tone, etc. to deliver the message accurately.

Here are some simple rules to establish and maintain eye contact:

  • Establish eye contact right away: Never start your speech while looking down or at an inanimate object. I commonly recommend my clients to “scan” the audience to detect someone who looks friendly, enthusiastic, in a word, positive. Establishing eye contact with such a person will make you feel confident.
  • Maintain contact for 4–5 seconds: Once the connection is established, maintain it for 4 to 5 seconds. Then you can shift your focus to another listener, and another one… The more contacts you create, the more listeners you engage.
  • 50/70 rule: The massive difference between proper eye contact and staring is that the former keeps the interlocutor engaged, while the latter makes her nervous. To avoid unnecessary discomfort, you should maintain eye contact for 50% of the time while speaking and 70% of the time while listening.

Third Secret of Help with PowerPoint Presentation: Keep Things Simple

My clients commonly come with presentations that are overloaded with information, visuals, etc. In such cases, I ask them only one question: “Could you remember all this information if you were part of the audience?” The typical answer is “no way!”, which means it’s time to revise what has already been done.

After a thorough revision, only 20% of the initial information is left.

I’m sorry for tautology, but keeping things simple is simple:)

  • Most relevant info: Some clients say: “I know this doesn’t concern the topic, but the fact is fascinating.” I’m sorry, guys, but you have to delete everything irrelevant unless you want your audience feel confused or irritated.
  • Most important info comes first: If you use PowerPoint, Prezi, etc., make sure the most critical information is in the first two-thirds of the slide. You should aim that everyone, especially those in the back rows, sees it.
  • The less the best: Do not overload your slides with information. The 5/5 rule suggests using no more than 5 words per line of text and five lines per slide.
  • Add visuals: A good visual can replace lines of text. If you’re lucky to find the one, be sure to incorporate it into your presentation.

Fourth Secret of Presentation Help: Plan Your Time

At Nerdify, I meet students whose presentations were a failure because of inadequate time planning. “I hadn’t reached even halfway when my time was over,” “I had no time to answer the questions,” “It took much time to get the audience engaged,” “The final part of my speech was a mess” etc.

These are common complaints meaning you should pay more time to plan your speech:

  • Start with an introduction: Many speakers don’t give proper attention to introducing the subject matter. Meanwhile, it takes only 3 to 5 minutes to explain the audience why the topic is important, hence, make them interested.
  • Key things come first: The most critical information comes in the first half of your speech, which means you have time to deliver it. And the audience is attentive enough to remember it.
  • Time to answer questions: Reserve some time to answer questions that your audience may have. The amount of time depends on the length of your speech. But typically 3 to 5 minutes is enough to discuss the issues that might arise during the presentation.
  • Wind up: Make sure you have time to wind up, i.e., recap the topic, key findings, take-away message, etc.
  • Semantic blocks: When you have to deliver a lengthy speech, divide it into smaller 20-minute chunks, with 3 to 5 minutes of a break between them. Breaking your presentation into semantic blocks gives your audience time to “recharge their batteries” and listen to your speech all ears.

Fifth Secret of Presentation Help: 20x20 Rule

Actually, I’ve mentioned this rule several times in my tutorials. But it won’t hurt if I recap the main ideas here:

  • 20 minutes: make sure your presentation is 20 minutes long. Interestingly, the best Ted Talks speeches do not exceed this time limit.
  • 20 times: rehearse your 20-minute speech 20 times. This will help you to avoid nervousness and confusion when the “day x” comes.

Instead of an Afterword

Have problems with your presentation? Dozens of professional nerds from top-ranking universities are ready to share their insights with you! Speaking like a boss has never been easier!

Learn how Nerds help other students and bust myths surrounding other subjects.

Articles, guidelines, examples and samples to improve your writing skills. We share — you learn.