Dr. Brian Cullen
I was working with my students to help them develop better presentations and came up with the PRESENT model which incorporates a lot of important NLP ideas and presentation tips in an easy-to-remember mnemonic. Below, I have given a simple initial description of this model. Later, I hope to develop it in more detail and to use it as the basis for helping students and other people to make more effective presentations.
As you practice and carry out the presentation, think of it as you see the audience and room out of your own eyes (first position). Also, think of how your audience perceives you (second position). Finally, imagine that you are standing at the side of the room watching both yourself and the audience (third position). Notice what you learn from each position that can help you to make a better presentation.
Rapport with the audience
Create strong rapport with your audience right from the beginning. Creating rapport with a group can be done in several ways. You could mingle with the group members and do an activity with the group in which you are taking part as a participant. Or if this is not feasible, try to identify the rapport leaders in each section of the audience and mirror/match their behaviour. All groups have natural rapport leaders that other people unconsciously follow. If you can create rapport with these rapport leaders, then the whole audience will come into rapport with you. You can test whether you have created solid rapport by trying to lead the audience in some way. For some example, when you nod your head, do they all nod along with you?
Express in VAK
This is the biggest item in the list. Of course, the words that you use should appeal to people in the audience no matter what their representational system is. So, you can use visual language such as ‘picture’, auditory language such as ‘listen’, and kinesthetic language such as ‘feel’.
You should also consider all representational systems in the non-verbal behaviours of your presentation. For visual, be sure that you are suitably dressed and that you are using clear pictures or graphs or similar. For auditory, talk in a clear loud voice at an appropriate speed. Vary your voice to match and enhance the content of your talk. For Kinesthetic, use gestures to organize the space around your body in ways that match your content. For example, you could anchor concept 1 on your left hand and anchor concept 2 on your right hand. You can also set up spatial anchors in the room to anchor states such as curiosity, agreement, etc.
You may also like to use the charisma pattern (starting in K, moving to A, and then moving to V) which will ensure that you reach all of the audience effectively.
Stories are a great way to liven up a presentation. People are interested in your personal stories and it can be a great way to get their attention right from the beginning. You can use metaphors to support or exemplify the content of your presentation or to induce appropriate states in the audience. You can also use split stories (embedded metaphors) to embed your content within a story or to create a trance state in the listeners if that is appropriate.
As you walk onto the stage, the audience is already watching you. Be sure that you have your eyes up and are watching the audience from the moment they can see you. Then walk confidently out onto the stage, take a pause, look around at the audience, ensure you have their attention, and only then say your initial greeting. Unless you are specifically trying to get another effect by using your eyes, keeping your eyes up throughout the presentation can be the most effective.
Too many presenters read from a script or even from their own slides on the screen. Make sure that you have made simple notes that you can speak from to reproduce your presentation. Practice with these notes until your presentation is perfect. This will make your presentation far more natural and spontaneous, and you will also feel much more confident.
Your notes don’t have to actually be ‘notes’ in the traditional sense. While keywords or a list of phrases might be most appropriate for one presenter, another presenter ‘notes’ could also perhaps mean physical anchors used as memory aides or perhaps visual anchors in the form of pictures, graphs, a mindmap, and so on. One advantage of visual notes is that a lot of complex information or relationships or large amounts of information can be shown more concisely than using words. Try different kinds of notes to learn what is best for you.
Make sure that your presentation fits into the allotted time period by practicing with a stopwatch or timer in advance. If there is a questions and answers section after your presentation, be sure to have included that in your timing.
This is just a brief introduction to the PRESENT model. Feedback is welcome! And here it is again:
Express in VAK