Make Your Next Presentation Your Best Ever

Over the last couple of months, I’ve given nearly a dozen keynote and breakout presentations. It’s been great to be back in the saddle, especially with the in-person events.

Almost without exception, each time I do a presentation I feel it was the best I’ve ever given. I also believe this; each one going forward will be even better. I believe that because I love what I do, I know what I share will help people professionally and personally, and I enjoy the anticipation and preparation that comes with big events.

I’d like to give you three areas of focus that will help make your next presentation your best ever.  

Know Your Stuff

This is a given. After all, why would anyone ask you to share with an audience if you didn’t have some perceived expertise? It’s not enough to know it in your head. You need to know your material so deeply that it flows from you.  

Your knowledge needs to go beyond what anyone can see on the screen, read in a book, or look up online. Knowing your stuff means mixing it together with your experience and views so it comes across in a unique way.

Finally, you should convey passion for whatever you’re sharing. The more people experience your passion, the more likely they are to believe you and take whatever action you’re calling them to.

Practice Your Butt Off

The difference maker is how you present what you know. That’s an important aspect of being able to influence people. Make no mistake about it, presenting in front of an audience is a skill, which means it can be learned, practiced, and perfected.

Once you know the time you’ve been given, cut it down by 5-7 minutes. You want to do this in case you don’t start on time, and it allows for your third-party introduction. This means you should be able to finish your 60-minute presentation in 53-55 minutes. If everything starts on time, great because you’ll have a few extra minutes of breathing room!

Practice isn’t memorization, it’s knowing your material so deeply that you can pivot in the moment if need be. It entails every aspect, such as when you’ll pause for the maximum impact on your audience. 

A great resource for learning more about this is Carmine Gallo’s book The Presentation Secrets of Steve Jobs.

Use Stunning Visuals

It cannot be overstated how important your visuals are to drive home the key points in your presentation! Visuals include pictures, video, and text. 

People think in pictures so having the right graphics throughout your presentation can enhance your stories and make your points stick. For example, when I share a story about the zoo, I have a beautiful picture of a lion. 

Video can be quite effective too. When I share a golf story, I show a short video of my wife teeing off at St. Andrews, the birthplace of golf. The video is superimposed into a television set, so she looks like she’s playing in a golf tournament on tv. 

You can use text if you do it the right way. No bullet points or sentences! When it comes to remembering key points, I often have a word or two in 96-point font on a black background, or some color other than white, to make it pop. 

My favorite resource for creating stunning visuals is Presentation Zen by Garr Reynolds.


When you have an opportunity to present, never forget; you are as important as the material you’re presenting. It won’t matter the material or message if you fail to deliver it in a compelling way.

If you want to make your next presentation your best ever, focus on knowing your stuff, practice your butt off, and support everything with stunning visuals. 

Brian Ahearn, CPCU, CTM, CPT, CMCT

Brian Ahearn is the Chief Influence Officer at Influence PEOPLE, LLC. An author, TEDx speaker, international trainer, coach, and consultant, he’s one of only a dozen people in the world personally trained by Robert Cialdini, Ph.D., the most cited living social psychologist on the science of ethical influence.

Brian’s first book, Influence PEOPLE: Powerful Everyday Opportunities to Persuade that are Lasting and Ethical, was named one of the 100 Best Influence Books of All Time by BookAuthority. His second book, Persuasive Selling for Relationship Driven Insurance Agents, was an Amazon new release bestseller in several categories. His newest book, The Influencer: Secrets to Success and Happiness, will be available by year-end.

Brian’s LinkedIn Learning courses on persuasive selling and coaching have been viewed by more than 400,000 people around the world.

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