Academic and business presentations can be scary. Job interviews, investor pitches, sales calls all involve presenting. Presenting on video, in person, at a conference or as part of a panel discussion can be nerve wracking.

To ace any and all of these situations, one must find out how to feel confident, be at ease and communicate with power. Ready to take the challenge?

Recently, I coached a brilliant consultant. She needed to present in front of a tough interview committee. Competition was stiff. Stakes were high. Time was short.

I’m going to tell you what I told her.

By the way, this works for men and women. But I find that many professional women struggle to find an approach for presenting that ‘makes sense.’ Try this out and see how it works for you.

Presenting ideas is a lot like stringing a necklace. Each key point must make a visual impact. It’s the same thing you want to do with each beautiful jewel. But each jewel on it’s own does not have the same impact as when joined together. Like beautiful jewels sitting alone, your ideas do not make sense…without the thread of connection.

Building a presentation, like making a necklace, requires a few things: the jewels, the thread and the clasp. Let’s look at each part of this artful equation.

The Jewels
My hunch is you have the jewels. You know a lot and you have a lot to share. Your ideas are sparkling brightly…the only thing is which ones to pick and which order to place them.

The Thread
In public speaking and presentation skills training, the thread is often placed under delivery skills. This is only partly true.

Delivery skills are where your personal passion, energy and vitality come into play. It’s how you ‘wear the necklace’ to keep with this metaphor.

But there is also a core thread that needs to be built before you deliver your talk. This is where storyboard planning comes into play. A presentation storyboard is how you can organize the thread to strongly connect all the sparkling jewels.

What many presenters forget is: plan the thread in advance. Then, you can confidently glow in delivery. If you have to rely only on delivery skills, you are essentially ‘winging it’ and leaving your success up to chance.

The Clasp
Like a golden clasp to a fine necklace, the beginning and end of your presentation must be strong. If you’ve ever had a necklace with a weak clasp, you know how frustrating this is. You want to wear it, but it keeps coming apart.

Don’t let this happen to your presentation. A clasp has two parts and these are equally crucial to a successful talk. How you begin. How you end. Pay particular attention to the start and finish of your presentation.

The Mystery
My guess is you have a favorite necklace or piece of jewelry. Take a look at it. It’s perfect for you, right?

That’s exactly how you want your audience to feel. A perfect fit. When your audience feels this way, here is what they will say:

“She knew exactly what was important to me.”
“I don’t know how she did it…it was brilliant.”
“That was better than I ever imagined.”

The rewards are great. Build your presentation to match your audience and you will reap the rewards.

Now, if you aren’t sure about these steps, don’t worry. An expert presentation coach can show you the steps, help with story flow and help you find your personal best.

If you’re in a similar situation—tough competition, high stakes and short time, working with an objective coach is one of the fastest ways to get ready.

Whether you work with a coach or not, use this blend of creativity and logic to craft a terrific presentation. Do the work and you’ll win all the rewards.

Author's Bio: 

Milly Sonneman is a recognized expert in visual language. She is the co-director of Presentation Storyboarding, a leading presentation training firm, and author of the popular guides: Beyond Words and Rainmaker Stories available on Amazon. Milly helps business professionals give winning presentations, through Email Marketing skills trainings at Presentation Storyboarding. You can find out more about our courses or contact Milly through our website at: