Be Your Own Public Speaking Coach

Whether you’re a veteran public speaker or preparing your first presentation, there’s always room for improvement. Check out these easy tips to coach yourself to improve your presentations. Transform a good speech into a dynamic presentation.

Lisa B. Marshall
5-minute read
Episode #200

Step 3: Review Your Slides

First, look at your slides in slide sorter mode. On your first review, check the overall appearance of your slides. You want a nice mix of images and text. Most of your slides should have both. A few slides can have text only or images only, but space them out appropriately in your presentation.

Look for consistency. Fonts and formatting should be the same or similar in each slide. If you’re using color charts and graphs,stick with a small number of colors, and make sure they mean the same thing from slide to slide.

Next, match your presentation to your messages. Read each title in order. Does the presentation tell a story? Does each slide have a clear title? Are the slides too bogged down with details? Make your points as clear and concise as possible.

Now carefully review each slide individually. Every slide should be connected to your main message and include only enough information to make your point. Too much detail makes a slide hard to follow. Does each slide make only one point? If not, split them up. Does the slide include information that you don’t plan to talk about? Take it out! If you’re doing a technical presentation, carefully review your charts and graphs to make sure each is accurate and clear.

For each slide, ask yourself how you can make your point clearer. What can you add or subtract to make it clearer? Are any labels missing? Do the images and text support each other? Are the points easy to understand? Are key takeaways included in the slides both visually and in text?

Your presentations will improve if you take time to review your checklist and make the necessary edits. Self-coaching, one element at time, is one way to ensure you deliver a simple, clear, and dynamic presentation. (Of course, for important presentations, you should consider hiring a professional coach.) Create your own checklist based to use with every presentation. Review your presentation several times, focusing on the specific areas. Once you’ve re-worked and fine-tuned your delivery, your organization and your slides, I recommend recording yourself one more time so you can see (and enjoy) the improvements for yourself.  

This is Lisa B. Marshall, The Public Speaker.  Helping you lead, influence, and inspire through better communication. Do you wish you got an email from me letting you know the new podcast is available? Join my newsletter to get weekly updates and get a free bonus.

Do you struggle with difficult conversations? Do you procrastinate when it comes to delivering feedback? Do you know how to effectively persuade and influence others? Learn this and more in my book Smart Talk. Radio personality, Maureen Anderson called it “The owner’s manual for your mouth!” Visit www.smarttalksuccess.com to get your personally signed copy.

Woman Listening image from Shutterstock


About the Author

Lisa B. Marshall

Lisa B. Marshall Lisa holds masters with duel degrees in interpersonal/intercultural communication and organizational communication. She’s the author of Smart Talk: The Public Speaker's Guide to Success in Every Situation, as well as Ace Your Interview, Powerful Presenter, and Expert Presenter. Her work has been featured in CBS Money Watch, Ragan.com, Woman's Day, Glamour, Cosmopolitan, and many others. Her institutional clients include Johns Hopkins Medicine, Harvard University, NY Academy of Science, University of Pennsylvania, Genentech, and Roche.