How to be a Confident and Compelling Presenter

What makes a good presenter?

By: Rachel Kopczyk, Media Coach & On-camera Host

Think about the education sessions and Zoom trainings you’ve watched. Who do you remember? The speaker you remember was probably engaging, excited about their content, relatable, smiling and not just reading PowerPoint slides. But how do you do that? Here’s a few tips to help you when presenting in real life or virtually.

Know Your Audience

Always ask yourself, who is watching this? If you’re on “The Today Show” at 8am, you’re talking to mothers and women 25-65 years old. That means you need to take off your CEO hat, because you’re not in your yearly budget review, and put on your mom apron. The truth about being a presenter or speaker is that it’s not about you. It’s about serving your audience. Put yourself in their shoes. What do they need to know? What are their pain points? What are their questions in regards to your expertise? Ask the organization you’re presenting for to see the demographics. When you are presenting, you’ll be able to put the focus on them since it’s about informing the audience.

Show Them, Don’t Tell Them

There’s nothing worse than a presenter who doesn’t share tangible takeaways for the audience. How many times have you heard a presenter say, “I’m going to tell you how to grow your revenue by 50%” and then they never actually show you how to do that? When you’re presenting, show your audience what you’re telling them. Show them examples of what you did to grow that revenue, show a client testimonial video, and walk them through the five steps.

Another pro tip: don’t use marketing jargon or corporate speak in your presentation. The listening mind cannot translate that into tangible action. Speak conversationally. Take the example of Microsoft. On their website it says, “At Microsoft we are dedicated to advancing human and organizational achievement.” That means absolutely nothing and doesn’t tell us what they make or sell. They sell software for businesses and make computers.

Become Relatable

The secret to being relatable is to address your audience directly. Use the word ‘you’ during your presentation even though you’re speaking to a large crowd, saying ‘you’ creates a connection to each individual listening. Flip your thinking from, “I’m delivering some big, fancy, important presentation to 200 people,” to “I’m having a conversation with a friend who wants to hear what I have to say.”

Customize your presentation, where you can, to the audience. The easiest way is to change any examples, scenarios, games, audience interaction, polls or jokes to be relevant to your current listeners. Take the time to acknowledge your audience in a way that they will feel you see them. An example: You are Microsoft Office sales representative and you’re talking to a room full of dental office receptionists. You could say ‘We know you use our Excel program to track all those root canals, but did you know you can use it to increase your sales?’ You get my drift.

Remember to Smile

Whenever you can during a presentation, try to smile. Not a big cheesy one, you don’t want to scare people, but a soft, kind smile. That smile does two incredible things. One, it sends a signal to your brain that you’re happy and will relieve your nerves. Two, your smile will make your audience subconsciously smile and then they’ll feel happy too. Apply common sense here because if you are talking about something deadly or harmful or depressing, you probably shouldn’t smile.

Eye Contact

This is not an easy ask for everyone, though it’s one of the most valuable and free tools for a presenter. If you’re virtual, look at your computer camera, not the video screen. To the virtual audience they will not know what you’re looking at and won’t be as engaged. If you’re in real life, don’t linger on any one person, that can become uncomfortable. Instead, make an effort to look people in the eye for a few seconds. Remember kind eyes like a kind smile.


For those of you willing to take the extra step, practice your presentation and record yourself with a laptop or cell phone. Watch it back through the lens of your audience, not your critical-self lens, and see where you could use improvement. Or have a trusted friend or colleague watch your practice video and offer their feedback. Like anything else, with repetition, you’ll improve. There’s a lot of tools here that you can add into your presentation skills. Start with one aspect you’d like to implement at a time. Adding them all at once will distract you from delivering your stellar presentation.

For even more video presentation tips, like what to do with your hands, watch my free training videos here.

Have questions for Rachel? You can contact her here.