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Public Speaking


Presentation Skills:  Ten Presentation Secrets to Giving a Great Presentation Like Bill Clinton

By Ed Sykes 

You don’t need to be a Democrat, Republican, Independent, or member of another political party to be an outstanding presenter like former President Bill Clinton.  Mr. President Clinton gave an outstanding presentation at a political convention and he informed, entertained, and persuaded the audience members with his presentation. 

The question is how did former President Clinton become a great presenter?  Or more importantly, how can you become a great presenter like Bill Clinton? Discover these ten presentation secrets to being a great presenter and connecting with your audience:

  1. Be Passionate – Show that you are excited about your subject. Show your excitement and the audience will also become excited. This starts with the pace of your walk. Walk twenty-five percent faster as you come up to give your presentation. During your presentation, use vocal variety, facial expressions, hand gestures, and body movement to show your excitement.

  2. Make the Complicated Simple - Simplify the most complicated information so your audience can follow and understand your points. Remember, once your audience becomes lost, you lose them, and they will become disinterested. Take the time to put yourself in the audience’s shoes and ask yourself: “What points might be difficult to understand and how can you communicate these points so the audience can digest and understand your points. Slow down when explaining the more challenging points of your speech. Use analogies, stories, and simple graphics to reinforce and simplify hard to understand facts and figures for your audience.

  3. Engage Your Audience – Good stories are a great way to engage your audience. A well-told, relevant story should put your audience in the story, take them on the journey with you and engage them. Asking your audience members rhetorical questions is another good presentation technique for audience engagement.

  4. Take Time to Pause – Pausing during a presentation is a lost art. Most presenters feel that they need to rush through their presentation without stopping. Pausing after explaining difficult information or telling a funny joke allows your audience members to absorb the information or “get the joke.”

  5. Go Off Script Sometimes – By interjecting an unscheduled, personal story, fact, or analogy into a presentation will “humanize” you as a great presenter. A word of caution, when going off script, be aware of your time when presenting. Stay within time during your presentation. You will be more comfortable to ad live the more experience you gain making presentations.

  6. Present for the Senses – Don’t just tell! Present so that the audience members can hear, feel, smell, and taster what you are presenting. Describe what you are talking about in your presentation. Two power phrases that can help you do this are “imagine this” or “just imagine.” Those two phrases will put your in audience members in the situation you are presenting.

  7. Walk in Your Audience’s Shoes – Research your audience’s needs, concerns, and challenges, then address them during your presentation. By doing your research as a presenter, you will show you care about your audience members. Talk to the level of your audience members. If your presentation is above their knowledge base, you will lose them during your presentation. Don’t use five-dollar words when two-dollar words will do.

  8. Add Humor – You don’t have to be a comedian to be humorous. You can be funny and connect with your audience by sharing stories, analogies, funny situations, new events, etc. Make sure your humor is respectful and adds to your presentation.

  9. Respect the Audience – There is a terrible saying, and a book based on the saying, “Talk to your audience as if they are in their underwear.” Is that attitude ready showing respect? If possible, before your presentation, greet your audience members. Take time to thank them for coming, and think about how your presentation will benefit them. Make sure you command the facts of your presentation. Last, but not least, present to your audience, not at them. Your audience should feel that you are personally presenting to each member no matter how large the group.

  10. Start Presenting Today – All great presenters started somewhere. Take time to invest in your presentation skills. Decrease your learning curve and quickly acquire the skills mentioned above by joining Toastmasters, taking a presentation skills class, or investing in customized one-on-one coaching. Always look for opportunities to make a presentation wherever they arise: at work, in business situations, in your community, etc. As I always say, “Every opportunity to present is an opportunity for success!”

By applying the ten presentation secrets, you will develop the charisma, passion, and humor to successfully present like Mr. Clinton at your next presentation.

Additional Presentation Resources


Vocal Variety Is the Spice of Outstanding Presentations:  Seven Secrets to Creating an Engaging, Entertaining, and Persuasive Speech


Ten Powerful Presentation Skills Secrets to Outselling the Competition

How to Overcome Your Fear of Public Speaking in Seven Powerful Steps

Coming to 0rder: Five Public Speaking Lessons Learned from Judge Judy

Presentation Skills: Seven Presentation Secrets Learned from the Academy Awards

May I Have Your Attention, Please?  Five Ways to Retain Focus and Stay in the Moment

Outstanding Presentations Start in the Mind: Five Secrets for Overcoming Public Speaking Anxiety

Explain Yourself! The Reason Why Excuses Sabotage Your Success

E-mail Protocol – 12 Simple Rules to Stay Connected

Common Courtesy Isn’t So Common – 10 Telephone Blunders in Everyday Business

Verbal Faux Pas – The Words You Use Can Empower or Confuse

Bite Your Tongue! 10 Ways to Be an Effective Listener

Five Secrets to “Thinking on Your Feet”

Ten Quick Tips for Outstanding Presentations

Dr. Seuss's "The Cat in the Hat" Will Help You Get Your Point Across! (Yes you can, here's the plan!)

How to Set Boundaries and Say No 

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