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Research by the National Speakers’ Association shows that becoming more facilitative (i.e. more helpful or providing assistance) is the single most important change a speaker or presenter can make to be more effective. Here you will also find three powerful presenter tips to use before, during, and after presentations.

If you have not compiled your personal handbook with presenter tips about your personal approach, do so now. Consider keeping prior handouts and slides, agendas, a master glossary, and evaluation summaries. Continuously improve your agendas and capture detailed support for the steps you frequently use in meetings and presentations; such as brainstorming, decision making, prioritization, and so on. Reflect on the organizational culture as to when certain tools work best or fail. Your handbook ought to be dynamic, useful, and powerful.

The use of interaction, discussion, and structure brings life to participants’ ideas and reactions. In the role of a speaker, embrace the following presenter tips to ensure your presentations shine!

1.Take extra time to precisely articulate your presentation’s purpose, scope, and objectives.

    • Do not rely on a vague and dull purpose statement such as to “educate” or “inform”. With instant, worldwide online access, there are far more effective ways to become informed and learn new material than to attend a live presentation. Presentations are normally intended to shape and guide behavior. WHICH behaviors and WHAT decisions need to be made that will affect or impact your material?
    • Stipulate the scope of your presentation to help manage time and keep your audience focused. What should be included and more importantly, NOT included in your presentation and subsequent discussion?
    • Consider your statement of objectives as a discrete item you could package and hand off to somebody. If I was unable to attend your presentation but you could hand me the benefits, what would they be?

Presenter Tips Before Presentations

In addition to your pre-read, and selective ground rules, here are some specific Participant Behavior guidelines you may want to encourage (listed alphabetically):

      • Caution them about voice inflections that may indicate disdain or an otherwise counterproductive attitude
      • Let each person respond without interruption
      • Share in accepting post-meeting assignments
      • Stay on topic and agenda, begin and end on time
      • Welcome conflict but separate issues from personalities

2. Remember that the audience for most topics (ie, those more complicated than individual, private decisions) should consider three different perspectives, each requiring its own scorecard or method of measuring the input received from your presentation. Most organizations include a solution sponsor, a financial decision-maker (accountable for final approval), and an operator (primary user of the product, system, or solution):

    • Three Facilitative Presenter Tips To Make Your Presentations More Effective

      Presenter Tips to Be More Effective: Organizational Decision-Making

      The solution sponsor is held responsible for the identification of solutions and getting the results sought by executive sponsors. Sponsors may decide alone or as a steering team. They frequently approve the solution concept request funding and make the commitment for results and benefits that will be accrued. In a hospital setting, for example, they may be the directors of finance and radiology.

    • Executive sponsor(s} represent the person or group of individuals who authorize solutions. hey really do not want to attend more presentations or view more data; they simply want results. For example, in a hospital setting, the sponsor might be the vice-president of HIS (health information systems).
    • Individuals who will operate the new solution (eg, a new MRI system) and likely have a strong voice in the final brand and model selected. In a medical setting, the operator may include radiologists or technicians, responsible for moving patients in and out as quickly as possible while transferring patient images and information to the appropriate diagnostician.

Presenter Tips During Presentations

Especially when time constrained, encourage audience participants to share their message as if they were delivering results to someone’s voicemail. An alternative way for some to visualize this mandate encourages responses that would fit on a single 4X6 notecard. Have them use the notecard as the scripting for the voicemail, capturing the main points. Encourage them to get to the answer or main point with the second sentence.

3. As questions are asked after your presentation, be more facilitative by repeating the questions and comments loud enough so that everyone can hear and respond as appropriate. Use an easel or whiteboard to reflect the input of your participants so that everyone can absorb the comments provided by other participants.

You should also use our Guardian of Change technique to build consensual understanding about what the presentation means to everyone, so that meeting participants depart with a message that generates harmonious actions, the type you would expect from people attending the same meeting, rather than people behaving as if they were in different meetings together.

Presenter Tips After Presentations


Our curriculum shares some variants of a Plus-Delta and a more robust annotated evaluation template that assesses the effectiveness of the meeting and your own performance. An approach that fits between the two is shown below. It provides numerical feedback but relies on three questions and optional, anecdotal feedback. The questions shown are solid, but also illustrative. Do not hesitate to substitute questions that more valuable for you, relying on a similar format. With this format, you can print two per sheet, reducing the ‘visual burden’ on your participants as well.


Don’t ruin your career or reputation with bad meetings. Register for a class or forward this to someone who should. Taught by world-class instructors, MG RUSH  professional facilitation curriculum focuses on practice. Each student thoroughly practices and rehearses tools, methods, and approaches throughout the week. While some call this immersion, we call it the road to building impactful facilitation skills.

Our courses also provide an excellent way to earn up to 40 SEUs from the Scrum Alliance, 40 PDUs from PMI, and 40 CDUs from IIBA, as well as 3.2 CEUs for other professions. (See individual class descriptions for details.)

Want a free 10-minute break timer? Signup for our once-monthly newsletter HERE and receive a timer along with four other of our favorite facilitation tools, free.

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Facilitation Expert

Terrence Metz, CSM, PSPO, CSPF, is the Managing Director of MG RUSH Facilitation Training and Coaching, the acknowledged leader in structured facilitation training. His FAST Facilitation Best Practices blog features over 300 articles on facilitation skills and tools aimed at helping others lead faster, more productive meetings and workshops that yield higher quality decisions. His clients include Agilists, Scrum teams, program and project managers, senior officers, and the business analyst community among numerous private and public companies and global corporations. As an undergraduate of Northwestern University (Evanston, IL) and MBA graduate from NWU’s Kellogg School of Management, his professional experience has focused on process improvement and product development. He continually aspires to make it easier for others to succeed.

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