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Nailing Your Presentations

Obviously, delivery is not everything in public speaking. A good delivery cannot compensate for a poorly prepared message, or one lacking in substance. Despite that, most of us know the significance of delivery, and at times it scares us.

Visual Delivery

Because the first impression comes more from what the audience see than from what they hear, we will first talk about visual delivery – particularly, how to appear to your audience. As a public speaker, your physical appearance, clothing, posture, facial expressions, eye contact, body movements, and gestures all influence your audience’s perception.

The audience judges your appearance as a hint to your position, credibility, and knowledge. The safest thing to do is to dress conservatively.

Good posture is nothing more than standing straight and having your “chest out” and “stomach in.” Proper posture makes the speaker look and feel comfortable, and aids voice projection and poise.

Move around occasionally.

Body movement can add interest, energy, and confidence to your presentation. To add emphasis, try moving at the beginning of an idea or at a transition between ideas. If you are using a projector and slides, be sure what is shown coincides with what you are saying.

Gestures are movements of the hands, arms, head, and the shoulders to help you communicate. They play an important role in presenting but they must enhance communication and not hinder it. Try making the gestures when rehearsing a speech. Practice before a mirror, even to the point of exaggerating. Then adapt your gestures to a point where they are appropriate and natural. However, gestures should be spontaneous. Too many gestures may distract the audience.

One kind of gesture is facial expression. This reveals your attitudes and feelings. Let your face glow with happiness or burn with enthusiasm. Avoid wearing the deadpan poker face that reveals nothing. This doesn’t mean that you will always give vent to your feelings in a bombastic and extravagant manner. A good speaker expresses views and feelings with appropriate restraint.

Eye contact is a very important factor in getting and holding attention. Look at your listeners directly, not above them or at the floor or ceiling or out of the window; otherwise, you lose your contact with your audience and their attention strays off.

Here are some questions you might consider in order to guide your visual delivery:

· Do I gesture enough? Too much?

· Does my body movement reinforce the flow of my speech?

· Are my gestures disturbing in any way?

· Am I depending so much on any one gesture?

· Does my face express the meaning or feeling I am trying to convey?

· Are there different gestures, body movements, or facial expressions that might express my intended

meaning more effectively?

Vocal Delivery

Sounds have four fundamental characteristics: volume, pitch, rate, and quality. If any of these is faulty, distraction results. Important announcements are uttered in a slow manner and with a relatively low pitch, whereas jokes or other light remarks are uttered in a rapid fashion with a relatively higher pitch.


A well-modulated voice is important to be an effective speaker. There is no hard and fast rule about the degree of loudness that should be used on different occasions, but an effective voice must be as loud as the specific speaking situation requires.

If you are speaking to a group, every member of the audience with normal hearing and concentration should be able to understand your statements without straining their ears and without getting irritated because of an excessively loud voice. Good speakers fit voice and actions to the words used, to the situation, and to their personalities.

An important principle in speaking clearly is that consonants should be pronounced well. Vowels are easier to pronounce, yet consonants give intelligibility to speech. A voice that is dominated by intellect rather than emotion tends to be moderate in pitch as well as in loudness.

This does not imply that intellectual efforts are devoid of feeling. It just implies that intellectual efforts accompanied by vocalization are not normally characterized by the exaggerated range and intensity of feeling exhibited in emotional behaviour alone.


Pitch is the general level on a musical scale of the voice in speech. Pitch may either be high, medium, or low; or we may use such terms as soprano, alto, baritone, or bass for vocal pitch.

Natural pitch in speaking is important for an effective voice. One who speaks unnaturally will be ineffective, disagreeable, and uncomfortable formats.


There are three rates or tempos in speaking – slow, average, and fast. Changes in rate can be achieved by the rate of articulation or by the use of pauses. The use of pauses is a very useful technique for separating or grouping phrases, for creating dramatic effects, and for emphasizing ideas.

As a general rule, the use of a comma is a sign for the reader or speaker to pause. But in some instances, long sentences without commas should also be divided according to thought content by a pause to give time for breathing and for the listener to grasp fully what is being read or said.

Dramatic effect can be achieved by speakers who pause after a rising inflection, thereby creating suspense; after which the expected outcome follows to the satisfaction of their listeners.


Voice characteristics (or voice timbre) and voice attitudes (or voice colour) come under the general term of voice quality.

What is voice quality? Vocal quality is related to resonance and to the avoidance of undesirable vocal aspects such as excessive nasality and breathing. It is also related to feeling and mood.

Verbal Delivery

Besides being greatly conscious of your visual delivery (you and your visual aids) and vocal delivery (your manner of speaking), the audience will focus on your verbal delivery (the language you use and the way you construct sentences).

Listeners prefer speakers who use a more informal language than what is usual for written reports. Moreover, it is absolutely acceptable to use personal pronouns such as I, we, you, us, he/she, zie, sie, they/they're, and contractions such as I’m and don’t – forms that are frequently avoided in formal written reports.

One mistake is to use long or extremely technical terms or jargon to impress the audience. Even though you are speaking in a professional setting, don’t think that your listeners use or understand the same technical words or jargon that you do. The best language is vivid and colourful (paints a picture for the audience), concrete and specific (gives details), and simple (is easy to understand).

About the author

Darren Dewrance

Darren spent six years in sales and field sales before joining the original sales recruitment specialist, Austin Benn, in 1998. After achieving the status of top consultant, out of about seventy at the time, Darren rose from Senior Consultant to Operations Manager of the commercial sector before leaving to join a London based Headhunter in 2003 before setting up Aaron Wallis with Rob in October 2007.

With a natural leadership style, Darren is an expert on putting his finger right on the heart of the problem. His natural commercial instincts have helped hundreds of employers make better recruitment decisions. Darren is married with two children, and when not at work or with his family, he likes nothing more than to be on the side of a river or a lake with a rod in his hand.

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Our employers say...

Since joining DSGi, Rob has been a supplier of permanent staff and has performed to an extremely high standard, successfully filling 98% of roles he has worked on. If anyone is looking for a good sales and marketing based consultancy with an informal yet professional approach, I would recommend Rob.

Senior Recruitment Consultant, DSG International

We were impressed not only by the quality of candidates you found for us but also the level of information, preparation and qualification you put into the process. You continually kept us informed of each person’s feelings about the process, which is very important but often overlooked. I am looking forward to working with your company again in the future.

Commercial Director, Incentive Facilities Management

Thanks for all your help during the recruitment process. I have been extremely impressed with Aaron Wallis especially when compared to other agencies we have dealt with. I really felt you grasped the type of person we required and found strong candidates.

UK Sales Manager, Nexcom

Rob’s knowledge of the recruitment industry and his thoughts and how to make it better for his clients have always been eye opening. I would recommend Rob to anybody who is looking for a professional, knowledgeable and flexible recruitment specialist.

CEO, Friday Ad Online Services

Understood the type of person we were looking for and good follow ups - not too frequent.

Managing Director, bigHead Bonding Fasteners Ltd

Giles is highly professional and was a pleasure to work with. He achieves excellent results through his personable skills and tenacity. I have no hesitation in recommending Giles to anyone who considers employing his services.

Commercial Director, G4S Government & Outsourcing Solutions

I really liked the YouTube presentations which made the service seem both simple and accessible. The company came to see me, and my management team, at short notice to present their service and I liked the support and advice that I received about maximising the results from the applicant.

Managing Director, Leisuresec plc

Aaron Wallis has continuously provided us with suitable candidates that have been proactively sourced. Having used countless recruitment companies, Aaron Wallis are the only company that I can count on to deliver.

Managing Director, JARK Healthcare Recruitment

Giles Phillips is a rare find in the minefield of sales recruitment; an honest and thoughtful recruiter who considers the needs of both the client AND the candidate to create perfect role matches. I look forward to working with him again in the future.

Marketing Director, City of London Police

In an industry where people over promise and under deliver, Rob and his teams have consistently provided a high-quality service. It is great to deal with someone that has an excellent understanding of UK industry, and a passion for sales.

Sales Manager, TR Fasteners

Rob is a true recruitment professional that goes the extra mile that I have never experienced from any other recruitment agency before. If you need sales people call Rob or someone in his team, as they really are experts in sales recruitment.

Sales Director, Inside Business

I have used Aaron Wallis to fill a number of our Sales Development Manager roles and I have found them to provide a very professional service. I will use their services again in future recruitment campaigns.

HR Business Partner, Greene King

I just wanted to thank you for your help with our recruitment process which went very smoothly and has – we hope – found us just the person for the job!

Managing Director, Citrefine International Ltd

I have always found Rob to be very knowledgeable about our industry sector, and it is refreshing to see after all of these years that Rob continues to quickly and accurately understand my requirements.

HR and General Manager, THK

I found Aaron Wallis to be very professional and efficient, taking time to understand the role and the type of candidate we were looking for. The candidates they put forward met our criteria and were of a high standard. The service they provided was exemplary and I would have no hesitation in recommending them, and will certainly consider using them again in the future.

HR Assistant, Fischer Connectors Ltd

We appointed Aaron Wallis in February and the successful candidate, out of the six which Aaron Wallis introduced, was able to join Alphametrics before the end of April. The whole process took less than three months. I would recommend Aaron Wallis' services to others without hesitation.

Chief Financial Officer, Alphametrics

Our candidates say...

A great recruitment company to work with. Excellent experience with Aaron Wallis through the entire recruitment process. The team was really professional and extremely helpful. Darren was a pleasure to work with. He was friendly, supportive and gave me great advice. Thank you very much!

A. Bauchet, Candidate

Less than two weeks after joining Aaron Wallis I was offered my new job. I got a £10,000 rise in my basic salary, car allowance, a laptop and many other perks, which will help to further my career. I definitely would not have found my dream job without the help of Aaron Wallis.

C. Hoy, Candidate

The service provided by Aaron Wallis has been just great. I was constantly informed about what was going on with the process interview and the agent has always been supportive and kind to me.

L. Colagrossi, Candidate

I've had a really good experience working with Giles Phillips at Aaron Wallis. From initial contact to the finer details of securing the job, he has been very professional and a pleasure to work with.

M. Shutt, Candidate

Aaron Wallis helped me secure a position I really wanted. Giles sought to keep me updated with all the details preceding interviews and after with feedback. I would highly recommend Giles and Aaron Wallis Sales Recruitment.

L. Taylor, Candidate

Perfect from start to finish. Simon deserves a shout out. Best recruiter there is. If you need a job, this guy will get you one. He's like the super man of recruiters. Top man, can't recommend him enough.

M. Crisp, Candidate

Aaron Wallis (and in particular Rob Scott) have been fantastic throughout the recruitment process, and even a few months down the line, still continues to care. Rob clearly cares about each individual and has a wealth of knowledge and expertise, which shows in the work he does. Each candidate is not just a number, and the support received from Aaron Wallis has helped me get a career which I truly enjoy.

M. White, Candidate 

Very good advice and support was given during the course of the interviewing process. Potential job seekers would be well advised to use this company whilst looking for their new career.

R. Speakman, Candidate

I can honestly say that the time and expertise you gave me was way beyond any other recruitment consultant I dealt with. You are a rarity in your industry.

S. Akers, Candidate

Fantastic service, helped me find my ideal job quickly and smoothly. Would highly recommend them.

C. Caine, Candidate

Really excellent experience dealing with Aaron Wallis. Liam Oakes who helped me get a great job was brilliant. Kept me up to date during the process and offered great help and advice, and a thoroughly nice guy. Highly recommended!

J. Hathaway, Candidate

The Recruitment agent I used, Simon, was extremely helpful and really went the extra mile to ensure all of my questions were answered, and that I felt as comfortable and prepared as possible. Very professional company and would definitely recommend to others. Thank you Aaron Wallis!

A. Callaby, Candidate

Aaron Wallis have provided me with an excellent service, Giles went out of his way to help me preparing for my interview and supported me through all the processes. If you need an agency to give you a fully professional and consultative approach to finding you a new career move, the Aaron Wallis can certainly provide this for you.

D. Richards, Candidate

Excellent experience from first contact to ultimately securing a suitable placement. Giles looked after me in a very professional and friendly manner. He used his expertise and experience to ensure I was put forward for the most suitable positions for my skill set and found me a new role very quickly. I can't recommend Aaron Wallis Sales Recruitment highly enough.

M. Green, Candidate

I have to say coming across and having dealings with Aaron Wallis proved to be very successful. Being highly experienced did not seem to count for much during my job search bit a conversation with Robert Scott gave me a real confidence boost and enabled to get a position at the age of 63. Great service!!!

D. Burgess, Candidate

Aaron Wallis Sales Recruitment are a very friendly and professional recruitment organisation who listen to your needs, work with you and act on your behalf which sets them apart from many of their competitors who in my experience are willing to throw anything at you. We discussed my history, my preferences and my wishes - one opportunity was introduced. It was perfect. I start at the end of June.

R. Buckley, Candidate

Fantastic customer service, communication was brilliant, happy polite people to talk to, made everything a lot easier and smoother. Thank you for all your help getting me back in the work force, Keep up the good work :-)

K. Everitt, Candidate

Excellent service, very professional and friendly, would and have, recommended Aaron Wallis.

E. Heley, Candidate

Good swift process with Aaron Wallis, informative regarding the role and the process was moved at a good pace with healthy interaction. Would recommend them to anyone pursuing a change.

S. Bartlett, Candidate

Aaron Wallis is an outstanding recruitment agency specialising in high calibre sales positions. I was working directly with Darren Dewrance who went above and beyond my expectations in sourcing me my perfect role. I was kept in regular communication with Darren and he worked extremely hard to secure my dream job. Highly recommended and Thanks Darren for all your expertise and hard work.

R. Sealy, Candidate