Top Tips for Successful Meetings and Presentations

When you’ve got an important meeting coming up, and you know that you’ll be called upon to present an idea, what are the key things you need to think about in order to make it a success?

These are my tips for a successful outcome.

They’re based around the four Ps of Preparation, Practise, Performance and Personal Confidence.



  • Gather key information: Start with basics: what’s the purpose of the meeting? Who will be there? How long have you got to speak? How much preparation time can you make for the meeting? And what is your goal? Taking control of the situation by starting to plan it out is a good place to start.
  • Share the above in an agenda upfront: This can help the other people at the meeting start to form their thoughts. You can also invite them to contribute to the agenda in advance,
  • Start to sketch out what you might say: What do you want to say, to who and what does it mean to you. Then, how are you going to say it?
  • Beginning and ending: give some thought to how you’ll roll into your presentation. And then once you’ve finished how you’ll bring the room back into the discussion. A simple thank you at the start can work, and a question at the end such as “What do you think?” or “What questions do you have?”
  • Develop what you’ll say: Think about 1) Your slides (if required) and 2) Your script. Give equal attention to what you’re going to show and what you’re going to say. Don’t expect to wing it and be successful. Because you need to be able to repeat it when you rehearse.


  • Rehearse: Run over, out loud, exactly what you’re going to say. And do it at least twice. The first time will be painful. That’s a good sign. Better to be painful there than at the presentation. The second time will be better. If you can manage a third you’ll be feeling more confident.
  • Budget your words: If you’re presenting, practising can help you to work out how long you’re speaking for. If you’re running over, you know you’ll need to edit what you plan to say to finish well. Remember to allow for time for questions and interaction.
  • Practise questions: what might come up based on what you are going to talk about? Imagine the likely questions and form your responses to them. Also, figure out some questions to ask your audience.


  • Body language: Watch your gestures. Some presenters have a habit of fidgeting which can distract the audience. When you pause in your words, aim to hold your body similarly still. When you speak, allow your gestures to compliment and reinforce your words.
  • Pace of speech: Watch for your pace. Many presenters speak too fast so make sure you pause in order to keep your audience with you.
  • Eye contact: Maintain eye contact with the room. This allows you to hold a connection and build rapport with the room and also notice how your words are being received.

Personal Confidence:

  • Get grounded: Just before you speak take one or two deep breaths. Say something to yourself, in your head: “Come on {your name}, you’ve got this”. Say thank you to whoever has introduced you. Go to where you’ll present from. Smile, scan the room, pause and then start.
  • Drink!: Have a glass of water to hand: take a sip occasionally and certainly mid-way and at the end before questions.

Finally, make a point of reviewing your performance at the end of each meeting or presentation. Make a note of three things you did well and something you’d like to improve on next time. Meetings and Presentations can be great opportunities to strengthen and build relationships, especially in our email focused lives. It seems right we should learn to enjoy and be more effective in them.

Would you like to be more confident in meetings and as a presenter? My half day workshop for the IFA can help you get there.

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