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The Four Ps of Great Presentations

By Hector Cisneros

In today’s business world, entrepreneurs, business owners, sales reps, executives, managers and more have to make regular presentations to communicate the benefits of their services, projects, plans or products. There are four communication principles that when used properly, can make a tremendous impact on the outcome of your communications. If you could use these principles to their fullest extent, they would ensure your success in any endeavor they are applied to. In this episode of Working the Web to Win, we will explore what we call the four Ps of Great Presentations. So, read on and learn how to master your next presentation.

The title of this article, “The four P’s of Great Presentations” is talking about the principles of PlanningPreparednessPractice, and Performance. These four principles are interdependent and synergistically improve each other. In fact, each of the principles consecutively builds on its predecessor, creating an increase in the effectiveness and the success of your communications outcome.

In a previous article, I wrote about the various types of presentations including elevator pitches, online programs, and BNI weekly presentations. In my book called “60-Seconds to Success”, I not its available on In my article called “Top Tips and Tools to Make Your Next Online Presentation Sizzle,” I cover not only the important principles of presenting but also top tools for presenting online as well. The following reading list is a good starting place for any would be presenter who is looking to take their presentation skills to the next level.
only lay out the rules of creating great elevator pitches, but I also provide a whole system for creating them. This is followed by showing you how to organize your presentations into a word of mouth campaign. If you want to check it out,

The Four Most Important Principles - The following four principles are vital to all great
presentations. Sure, there are people who have natural charisma, who can captivate an audience for hours on end. But more often than not, great presenters learn their craft by rolling up their sleeves and getting in front of people to practice their trade. They learn by the trial of fire. More importantly, they learn from presenting and evaluating their performances. They often ask their audience what they could have done better.

I have had the honor and privilege to learn writing, presenting and speaking skills from Dr. Ivan
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Misner and many others (too many to list here) when I was a BNI director. During one of the director classes Dr. Misner taught us, he opened the floor for questions. I asked him how he became such a great public speaker. His answer was very enlightening for me. He said that you would be surprised what a lot of practice can do to improve a presentation. He further went on to say that many of the presentations he provides have been practiced and presented many times. One of his stories talked about how his sensei taught him that practice doesn’t make perfect, only perfect practice makes it perfect. That answer gave me hope and encouragement because it showed me that anyone who wants to be good at communications needs to practice. They need to aim towards achieving perfection and shoot for improvement.

Planning your Presentation – Planning is an extremely important part of the communications process. I always tell people to begin with the end in mind (as Steven Covey would say). You have to have a goal. What is the result you want to achieve with your presentation? It should be a S.M.A.R.T. goal, (read my article on creating goals). That is, it needs to be, specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Timed.  Those new to this process usually fumble a bit, but the good news is that you get much better the more you work through each planning process. Your plan needs to account for the audience, your timetable, your subject matter, the number of topics you will cover, your attire, whether you will have a handout, prize, etc. and what your call to action is.

Preparedness - Getting ready for a speaking event can be a little nerve-racking. I have found the process of getting ready by gathering all my information, writing my script and fleshing out my planning process often takes the jitters out that I felt when I first started. The process of getting prepared makes you prepared. This is especially true when you add the next principle – Practice.

Practice – Practice – Practice. The act of practicing is another way to calm your nerves. Familiarity builds confidence. Practice allows you to work out the kinks and rough spots, assuming you’re getting feedback on your performance in some way. Here are some great practice tips. 

Practice in front of the mirror. Seeing yourself perform is a great way to eliminate small picadillo’s in your performance. Video recording your practice presentation is even better. Any
smartphone will work here. You will be able to replay the performance to evaluate what you're doing to improve your delivery. Ask your referral partners to evaluate your presentation. Ask for constructive criticism. Ask them if there were points that were not clear and was the premise and call to action clear. Ask them to summarize your point and ask if it was compelling.

Performance – The delivery of your presentation will rest on how well you have engaged and completed the previous three principles. You will want to make sure you have a smooth pace, your intonation is clear, that you look people in the eye, and that you don’t hesitate or stammer. Dress appropriately for the venue and the audience. If you still get nervous, avoid caffeine before your presentation. Find a couple of people in the audience (located in different sections) and concentrate on speaking to them. You can always ask a friendly face to sit up front in the audience to encourage you as well.

Your performance will directly reflect how much time you have spent engaging in all four of the principles. If you have spent a good deal of time planning and have created the right outline for the goal you have set, spend time preparing your material so that it is now focused and concise. This will make your presentation logical and easy to follow. If you have practiced using a variety of methods and actually delivered this presentation several times to small audiences, the familiarity of the material will ease your nerves once you get started. Do this a few times, and your next presentation will be good. Perform your presentation a few dozen times, and it should be top notch.

Type of Presentations ot Consider - There are many technically different kinds of presentations you can deliver. They can vary in time frame and delivery medium. For example; you could do a face to face presentation to a person or group. This usually requires some windshield time in most cases, unless you do an online presentation.

Online presentations have many advantages. You can do an online 1-to-1 presentation, (which can be recorded) or you can provide a live streaming presentation to groups of varying sizes (which you can also record it for future use). If you are shy, you could pre-record your presentation and make it available for use on demand.

Presentation Applications - There are many applications available to accomplish these types of
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online presentations. You can use Google Hangout’s, Facetime, Goto Meeting,, and many others. Depending on the makeup and size of your audience, your presentation can be formal or informal. These presentations can be of almost any length from 30-seconds to about 90-minutes. I suggest you keep pre-recorded video presentations to shorter lengths, say 2 to 10 minutes. If you are recording live events, they will be the full-length recordings and generally don’t last longer than 90-minutes (the maximum attention span of most adults). If you are providing a lot of material, it is usually delivered as a lecture series with multiple videos used to present the material. If this is the case, shorter videos of 5 to 15-minutes usually work best.

My Three Favorite Delivery Methods -  There are dozens of books on how to deliver a presentation. I try to keep things simple and not deliver too much material in my presentations since it tends to overwhelm the audience. My three favorite delivery methods are; #1Tell them, tell them
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and tell them again, with a summary close and call to action. #2 Provide an overview of 3 to 7 subjects, summarize my main points at the end which includes my call to action. And #3 Provide a short Overview of 3 subjects, followed by subject #1 with its summation, then deliver subject #2 with its summation, and finally subject #3 with its summation, followed by my close and call to action. The timeframe for presentations should be set so that the introduction takes up about 5 to 10 percent of your time, the body takes up 70 to 85 percent of your time, and the close uses up about 5 to 10 percent of the total time.

The four Ps of presentation are critical principles needed to maximize your success. By concentrating on, engaging in and following the sequence in this article, you will get the most out of your planning, preparedness, practice, and performance.  All are critical, but one of these items stand out in my experience. And that is practice. NO, you cannot skip planning or preparedness. They provide the critical material in the right order to create content that is easy to understand and consume. Also, practice improves performance. Practice allows you to master the material, which in turn, allows you to begin mastering all the various elements of delivery (intonation, pace, engagement, etc.). By following the method prescribed in this article anyone can become a master presenter. It just requires, time effort and the implementation of the four Ps of Presenting.

That's my opinion; I look forward to reading yours.

This article explains the details for implementing the presentation method called the four Ps of Presenting. The article provides many examples and variations of implementation for use in short,
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medium and long presentations. Also included are links to many other articles and other resources for the reader to use.

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Hector Cisneros is COO and Director of Social Media Marketing at Working the Web to Win, an award-winning Internet marketing company based in Jacksonville, Florida.  He is also co-host of the weekly Internet radio show, "Working the Web to Win" on, which airs every Tuesday at 4 p.m. Eastern. Hector is a syndicated writer and published author of “60 Seconds to Success.

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