Present like a pro:
how to not be boring


As a civil engineer, you will constantly be giving presentations and meeting with clients during your day to day role. So, you need to have the ability to put together a presentation and sell it.

For a lot of people, once they find out they have to do a presentation they have this immediate feel of dread come over them. Presenting can be nerve-racking, but it doesn’t have to be. That’s why we’ve pulled together our top tips to help you present like a pro.


1. Don’t be an author reading from your book.


Ok, first things first, make your actual presentation strong.

Don’t overload your presentation with content. The biggest mistake presenters make is taking on the role of the writer as they proceed to read the content in their slides. You're the "presenter" not the orator, and let’s be honest, if this was your book it’s probably not that interesting.

Secondly, when it comes to presentations, the old saying “a picture is worth a thousand words” should be a rule of thumb. Even though your presentations will contain data such as facts and statistics, people see presentations, they don't read them.


2. Practice makes perfect.

As obvious as it may seem, it’s best to practice your presentation as much as you can before your delivery. As they say, “fail to prepare, prepare to fail!”

Rehearsing can be more helpful than simply winging it from just the information off the slides. Having a script there can be a big help, especially if you are nervous about speaking.

When practicing the delivery of your speech, why not try to rehearse your lines in various positions? This is actually recommended by some strategists. Try standing up, sitting down, walking back and forth. The more you play about with your positioning, the more comfortable you’ll be with your delivery.

If you love the sound of your own voice, record yourself and listen back for any bad habits that you may not be aware of. If you cringe too much at hearing a playback of your voice, getting a friend or colleague to listen to your speech can also be helpful.



3. You can do this!

Your mindset plays a big part when it comes to public speaking, or any task for that matter. If you go up there with the mindset that you’re going to make mistakes and do a bad job, you most likely will. You need to think positively about the outcome from the very beginning.

Turn any nerves you have into enthusiasm, use that energy to get yourself fired up and ready to give the best presentation of your life! Don’t forget, enthusiasm is contagious. The more enthusiastic you are about what you’re presenting, the more interesting.



4. Power pose.

Yes really! Power. Pose.

It’s been proven that the effectiveness of positive visualisation can really make your presentation. So, keeping with that mindset, trying the power pose for a few minutes just before your meeting can increase confidence and reduce anxiety. Believing you’re confident will make you confident.



5. Take time to adjust.

Allow yourself enough time to settle in before your talk, as well as extra time to ensure you won’t be late. And if you can, try to spend time in the room you will be delivering your presentation.

Having that extra time to get adjusted to your surroundings will make you feel more comfortable.



6. Inhale… Exhale…

Keep. Your. Breathing. Steady.

This will help your tone of voice and help you stay calm. Before you’re about to start your presentation, take a few deep breaths to calm your nerves and steady yourself. Not only does this calm you down, it also helps you to slow down and not rush.

Pausing at the end of a section to take a few deep breaths can help keep the nerves at bay, but also allow the audience time to digest the information you are giving them.



7. Engage, Engage, Engage.

Presentations can often feel like a one-sided proposition, but people love to talk and have their opinions heard. So, ask the audience their thoughts and invite them to ask questions throughout.

Doing this can also make you seem more welcoming to the audience and not like you’re just there to throw information at them. Creating a conversation with the audience can lead to higher engagement and a better experience.

Some say, expect the unexpected. We say, incorporate it.

Chip and Dan Heath, the authors of the bestselling book "Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Die and Others Survive." If you heed their advice, you'll elevate your presentations to a higher level.


If we want to motivate people to pay attention, we should seize the power of big surprises. Break patterns, create mystery, build unique stories, and find knowledge gaps. The unexpected equals attention.



Presentations can be nerve-racking and we all can’t be the next award-winning speaker. But everyone can deliver a pretty good presentation. Take all that nervous energy, transform it into positive enthusiasm and you can’t go wrong.




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