7 Ways to Give Presentations That Steal the Show

Michael Port, author of the new book Steal the Show, shares essential advice for giving great presentations.

Stever Robbins
4-minute read
Episode #376

We all give presentations. Whether it’s a first date, talking to a friend, or persuading our coworkers that they really will like pizza with ham and pineapple, we need to be able to give a charismatic, compelling performance to make a positive impression on our audience. Or, as I like to think of it, bend them to our will so they become our devoted minions.

I interviewed author, speaker, and entrepreneur Michael Port, who discussed his new book Steal the Show. Michael is a professional actor turned businessman and entrepreneur. These seven tips will show us how to give a fantastic performance every time:

1. Be Authentic

In the 21st century, authenticity sells. Fake that, and you can have anything you want. But authenticity isn’t about faking; it’s about allowing yourself to have and own your real emotions and presence in front of an audience. Rather than trying to gain your audience’s approval, just put your attention on producing results for them and being yourself. If you’re a megalomaniacal leader of a zombie army, own it, and go from there. For instance in a job interview, if you qualify on paper, acknowledge that, and then go on to show the interviewer how, with your nontraditional background, you’ll be able to produce amazing results.

2. Cut to the Chase

Skip the small talk when you start your presentation. Instead of telling a funny story, jump right in with real, live content. You’ll come across as confident, credible, and knowledgeable. (The single exception to this is on a first date, where if you’re at a loss for conversation, a funny story just might be preferable to the real, live hilarious story about how you loved your ex- so much that it required a restraining order to get you to believe the breakup was real.)

Skip the small talk; jump right in with content.

3. Be Prepared

Skip the small talk; jump right in with content.

You can only authentically cut to the chase if you’re so well-prepared that you can be fully present. Know and rehearse your material until you’re at the point where the overall structure of your presentation, the connecting stories, and the presentation comes naturally. Once those things are automatic, your full attention can be on your audience and you’ll be rocking it.

4. Your Secret Weapon Is…

What makes your presentation rock is your secret weapon: contrast. If you’re the same throughout your presentation, you’ll be b-o-r-i-n-g. You can use multidimensional contrast to spice up your presentation:

Structural contrast is where you organize your information in different ways. You may present your sales results as a graph, story, or column of numbers.

Emotional contrast is where you lead your audience through a wide range of emotions. Concern over the not-so-amazing 3rd quarter sales results. Curiosity at whether your new compensation system will work. Joy when you learn that Hydrox Cookies are going to be produced again. (Oreo Ice Cream Cake is tasty, but Hydrox Ice Cream Cake … that’s a whole ’nother ballgame.)

Delivery contrast is where you use different communication styles to communicate your message. You might mix visual presentations with props, music, and interactive exercises.


About the Author

Stever Robbins

Stever Robbins was the host of the podcast Get-it-Done Guy from 2007 to 2019. He is a graduate of W. Edward Deming’s Total Quality Management training program and a Certified Master Trainer Elite of NLP. He holds an MBA from the Harvard Business School and a BS in Computer Sciences from MIT.