Nail Your Next Presentation | Ashley Whitlatch | Skillshare

Playback Speed

  • 0.5x
  • 1x (Normal)
  • 1.25x
  • 1.5x
  • 2x

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

7 Lessons (32m)
    • 1. Intro: Are you ready to nail your next presentation?

    • 2. Your Class Project + Resources

    • 3. Discovering your Audience

    • 4. Creating your Presentation: The Science

    • 5. Creating your Presentation: The Art

    • 6. Delivering Something Memorable

    • 7. Wrapping Things Up!

  • --
  • Beginner level
  • Intermediate level
  • Advanced level
  • All levels
  • Beg/Int level
  • Int/Adv level

Community Generated

The level is determined by a majority opinion of students who have reviewed this class. The teacher's recommendation is shown until at least 5 student responses are collected.





About This Class

You all have stories to tell, deals to close, and people to inspire. If these ideas aren't presented in an engaging way, you might miss out on the chance to make an impact. This class is for people who want to win.

I cover the three main steps for giving a memorable presentation: preparing for your audience, creating an effective visual aid, and delivering your presentation with confidence.

Learn how to be an effective communicator, and leave your audience wanting more. Get more gigs, close more sales, and inspire more leaders.

Are you ready to nail your next presentation?

Meet Your Teacher

Teacher Profile Image

Ashley Whitlatch

VP of Marketing at Rapport


Ashley is a visual storyteller with over 15 years of marketing and leadership development experience, and helps brands tell their story and build communities as a brand marketing executive consultant. Previously, she served as the Director of Marketing at Redkix, (acquired by Facebook) and also spent four years at Prezi, Inc., leading global evangelism programs & partnerships, helping them grow from 9MM to 65MM+ subscribers worldwide. While there she scaled an international B2C Ambassador Program of marketers, creatives, and engineers to 33 countries with 80 direct reports.

Before transitioning to the tech world, Ashley was an Assistant Director at the University of Washington, where she advised student leaders, and ran local and national marketing initiatives for 49 nonp... See full profile

Class Ratings

Expectations Met?
  • Exceeded!
  • Yes
  • Somewhat
  • Not really
Reviews Archive

In October 2018, we updated our review system to improve the way we collect feedback. Below are the reviews written before that update.

Why Join Skillshare?

Take award-winning Skillshare Original Classes

Each class has short lessons, hands-on projects

Your membership supports Skillshare teachers

Learn From Anywhere

Take classes on the go with the Skillshare app. Stream or download to watch on the plane, the subway, or wherever you learn best.


1. Intro: Are you ready to nail your next presentation?: Hey, everyone, I'm Ashleigh with Latch and I spent about four years leading global programs and partnerships at Crazy, which is a presentation software program if you are not familiar with it. So I've done a lot of presenting and I am so thrilled today to help you guys all feel much more confident in your presenting skills so that you just feel fantastic the next time that you have to get up in front of an audience. So most of us are not big fans of presenting and growing up. I was no exception. I was absolutely terrified of public speaking and I would completely black out and not remember a single thing that I had said when I sat back down. But I forced myself to do it over and over and over again and slowly. Over time. I got better at it and it actually became something that I enjoy doing. So if you would have told my 16 year old self though that I was gonna love presenting and that I would be going all over the world and getting to public speak, I would have said You're crazy like there's no way that that was gonna happen as part of my job because I hated it at the time. So I would say the one take away from this class if you get anything, is that anyone, literally anyone can become a great presenter if you follow these steps. So today, in this class, we're gonna cover three main areas of creating and engaging and memorable presentation, and I will give you a step by step walk through each of those. So the first is gonna be the discovery phase where you're doing research about who your audience is going to be, making sure that you understand. What is it that you're going to create to connect with them? The first place that you want to start and second will go through the creation face. How do you actually create an engaging presentation that's going to really complement what it is that you're trying to say to your audience and then finally will talk about the delivery? How do you actually deliver a presentation with confidence? So this class is going to be great for anyone that is looking up, level their skills in presenting whether that be for your business, it could be for a sales pitch or even a student that's looking to stand out in the classroom. So I hope you're all ready to get started. Let's go. 2. Your Class Project + Resources: So you guys have a class project. So today I'm gonna be asking you guys after you take the class to actually complete an outline for the next presentation that you're going to be giving. And I have given you three different resource things that you need to download. One is going to be a worksheet that is going to be for throughout the class. So you could take notes on the things that we're gonna be covering today. And all this stuff stuff instruction that I mentioned in the intro and then the second is a PdF of resource is that I've compiled for you when you're starting to go about the creation phase. And the third is an actual outline template for you to utilize for your class project. So make sure you go down those now and then let's get started 3. Discovering your Audience: So how many of you have had to sit through a boring presentation? We all have. Right? And most likely it looked something like this. Or maybe like this, with lots of text and bullet points. And the presenter was probably reading every single word on the slide. And you probably didn't remember a single thing by the end of it, because you were either falling asleep for exiting someone, right? So obviously you, as a presenter, want to avoid putting your audience to sleep or having to be distracted by their cell phones. So in my intro video, I talked about three key areas that we're gonna cover today. So is a quick recap. The first is the discovery phase knowing who your audience really is and how to prep for that. The creation phase where you're actually building your presentation or the visual aid that you've chosen and then finally delivering the actual talk. And what are some best practices that So let's talk about discovering who your audience really is, and I want you to think of this stage as laying the groundwork and setting yourself up for success as a presenter. So first you really want to know as much information about your audience as possible, and this is actually part of your class project, which is the outline template that I've given you. So make sure you go download that and you'll be doing some research on your audience. So maybe you already know them really well. And maybe it's a huge conference of 5000 people. Or maybe it's a board meeting, but you want to build your presentation around that audience. So think about how big the audience is. Sometimes some things that work really well for small groups really falls flat with large groups, or vice versa. So think about what they care about. What do they want to learn or how you can create an emotional connection? And on that note, figure out what resonates with them. What personal story can you tell? You know, if you remember, I talked about my own personal experience, growing up and being terrified of public speaking and being just horrified at blacking out not remembering a single thing that I said right, so find a way to connect with your audience. I've had the pleasure of seeing Guy Kawasaki present a few times in person at south by Southwest and in San Francisco, and he always emphasizes this every time. And he said that the key to great presentations is telling stories and bring a Brown is a tech speaker, and she has another great quote that I love. And she says, stories are just data with a soul, which I think is just a fantastic rate of look at it. You're basically creating data points that have meaning for people. So think of a few stories that might resonate with your audience once you've actually determined who the audience actually is, and then you want to determine your medium. So if it's just a team meeting, maybe you share a handout or you might have a few slides. Is visual aids? And if it's a more high stakes presentation that maybe you might use President to focus on a more visual kind of cinematic storytelling presentation? Or maybe even it's a video that you want to show that make sure that you figure out what it is that you want to use, and then once you've decided on that, you'll start with an outline. So again, this is part of your class project So I'm reminding you once against download the template and think about what imagery that you want to use, what you want to actually say and which stories you want to share. And then, if you want to bring along props as a more powerful visual aid, because sometimes it can be really fantastic to have something physical to pass around, depending on the size of the audience. So then this takes us to the next phase, which is the creation face. 4. Creating your Presentation: The Science: So once you've got a good handle on who you're gonna be presenting Teoh and which medium you want, he used to do it. You should move on to the creation based, actually building the presentation that's going to complement what you'll be either teaching or sharing or the information that you'll be presenting. So I want to touch on two sides of this space, which are equally important, the science behind great presentations that are memorable and the art What are best practices for making sure your presentation actually looks great. So we'll go ahead and start with science first. In general, if you're only giving a verbal presentation, people will remember about 10% of what you say. Our brains can really only process and remember about seven things at a time. There's some great research around this. I do another talk on that bit of Loki and creating memory palaces, so that's something to kind of think about. Unless you build stories around those things. People forget what it is that you're saying. So in general, Verbal on Lee is not really the most effective way to create a more memorable presentation . Now, if it's on Lee visual. So you're not speaking at all. But the audience is simply going through a deck on their own or they're seeing a bunch of pictures. It actually bumps up to 30%. So we're very visual creatures, and a lot of us actually think in pictures, so we're able to retain the information a little bit better. But if you combine both of those, so speaking and having some type of visual aid, it jumps up to 80%. So it allows your audience to actually retain much more of what you're saying, which is obviously a whole lot better than doing one or the other, right? So the American Management Association also found that about 43% of people found visual presentations more persuasive. So walls of texts are indefinite thing to avoid, right, like the example that I showed you at the very beginning of the class. So what is it that you actually should include? Images can obviously be incredibly powerful. They can elicit an emotional response like these. I took these at a museum in London, and for me they really captured the mood and somberness of the exhibit. Now, if I was a curator and I was promoting this new exhibition on World War Two history. Being able to utilize these types of images would be incredibly powerful and be able to really showcase this story that I'm trying to tell the ultimately images tell a story. So maybe you're planning to launch your product or your company or a new vertical in New York City, and it's a simple way to illustrate a new market opportunity. Or maybe you are a journalist and you're presenting your work to the public at an event or conference. This little kitten is actually one of my favorite stories from this year, and it's actually happy story, though. There's this incredible woman who calls herself the Kitten Lady and she fosters kittens and found this little one named Chloe, who was actually paralyzed and through video and images. She was able to actually raise money for her treatment, And this image tells a pretty healthy three for this little kitten life, and ultimately she was adopted. So regardless of your topic, remember that tying images to what you're sharing with your audience can be really effective way to get by in and capture their attention. Videos can also be super powerful. But I will caveat that by saying that they're one of the number one causes of technical difficulties in a presentation. So the last thing that you want to have happen is that your video doesn't load or it's stuck there buffering and your left scrambling, trying to explain what the video waas and how cool it would have been if it was working. And you end up apologizing to your audience and you feel horrible because your presentation didn't go as planned. So I would say, if you are set on using video, work directly with the organizer if it's a conference and make sure that the WiFi is strong enough, or that you download a local version of your video onto your laptop, or whatever device that it is that you're gonna be using and have it preloaded so that you can eliminate any risk for having it, not work is the absolute worst situation to be in now. Another really effective way for sharing information is through charts and graphs, so these could be pie chart scatter plots. Whatever kind of makes sense for the type of information that you're talking about, but you always want to give the audience and context so zooming in here. I can talk about this cool study where they found out the brains, the yellow first, who knew? But this could be a really great color to use to draw attention to something important that you leave you want to emphasize. On that same note, there was another study by the Journal of Contemporary Management that found that using color in your presentations enhances learning and improves retention by up to 75% which is pretty astounding. So I definitely love black and white, because I I feel like it looks really clean and crisp. But I've started incorporating more color into my presentations because I know that it's gonna be more effective because of these studies and the results that they're seeing from it. So to prove this at the end of this class, I mean, actually ask you guys about this orange slide and you are going to remember this statistic . And apparently using color also makes people believe that you communicate better by 77%. So making sure that you incorporate these scientifically backed studies that air showcasing best practices is another really effective way. Teoh. Ensure that you're gonna have a memorable presentation. So that's a little bit of the science. Now let's get to the fun part darts. 5. Creating your Presentation: The Art: So we just went through with some interesting stats on the science of memorable presentations. But how do you make it look great? I put several best practices together that will help you create a really beautiful presentation. So first in general, you wanna have no more than seven words per frame or slide. And there are a few exceptions, of course, if you have a short quote or phrase that you're sharing. But this is just a good rule of thumb to stick to, and this goes back to not wanting so much text on a slide that your audience is that is just so busy trying to read it rather than actually listening to what you have to say. It's a visual. Aid should always be just that an aide, and you really never wanted upstaging you. So really trying to avoid that. I actually get a lot of inspiration for presentations from ad campaigns because they're really concisely showcasing a story with imagery and then usually the least amount of text possible that this Nike ad, I think it's just a perfect example of that, and it really tells us the whole story with three words. Maybe this kid was made fun of in school or felt like he didn't feel confident in sports. But this one frame one photograph is showing us that no matter who you are, you can achieve greatness, and only you define what greatness really means. And then also, you should wear Nike, right? So it does a great job of eliciting an emotional response, and it gives you a challenge personally for yourself and really leaves you wanting to find the nearest Nike store. So you want to do that with your presentations and visual relationships, and a presentation is super important to do that. Now you can read this raise actions speak louder than words, but this visualize is that freeze in a much more engaging way. You still know exactly what I'm trying to say here, but I've eliminated a bunch of unnecessary text from my audience. So when you're working on your presentation outline and thinking about the visuals that you want to include the complement your script that you're gonna be writing out, I want you to brainstorm ways that you can create a visual representation of the sentence or phrase that you want to share so that you could make it much more engaging. Now there are all kinds of things wrong with this slide. There are multiple funds and colors and a random, semi transparent rectangle. Plus, I got this piece of green that's like invading the screen from another graphic in my presentation. And then to top it all off, the picture of me presenting to a group of people is super fuzzy. So with all the resource is out there now, there's really no excuse for having low quality photographs in your presentation. Its a big distraction or your audience, and they're straining their eyes, trying to figure out what they're looking at and again, aren't then listening to what you're telling them. So don't zoom in on bad graphics on the research stock that I've created for you. I've included a few links to places that you can actually get free, high res photos. So first there will be a link to a Great Medium article that has an even more extensive lists. But I wanted to mention one of my personal favorites here, and it's unspool ash. If you're not familiar with it, it's a community driven platform and a lot of photographers, both professional and amateur photographers actually give their photos away for free, so you can search by category or topic, and it's really super easy to find something fantastic to serve as the background or your slide or deck. This next tip is really relevant for you if you choose to use Prez E as your medium and with the older version of President. There was a lot of freedom on how you created a path on your presentation canvas, and many people thought it was super novel and fund a flip upside down and zoom all over the place without any sort of meaning. And you really want to avoid this. It can absolutely make your audience feel stick and have a negative feeling towards your presentation, which is the exact opposite of what you want. Those be super mindful off panning and zooming and Onley do it when you have a point like switching to a new topic or if you're showcasing context. Size also really matters, so we talked about visual relationships between words a couple minutes ago, and now I want to touch on spatial relationships. So which one of these two circles is more important, the bigger one, right? In general, in a presentation, things that are larger are going to be perceived as more important. But how about now this? It's the largest circle, right? And how about now? So the beauty of creating context and spatial relationships between concepts that you're touching on really allows the audience to grasp the journey that you're taking them off. It could be your company's history or quarterly earnings. Ah, postmortem on a campaign that you've done a timeline and history class or even your own personal journey. And I found this to be a super powerful way to make my presentations more engaging. So definitely do not forget about sizing. Typography also really matters. So some of you might remember when Microsoft launched word art and everyone started putting really horrific three D rainbow colored block letters and clip art into their presentation , and it was really distracting. It looked terrible. So on the left, I've put together an example of something like that which you want to avoid and then on the right. Here's an example, something simple and clean and easy to understand. So there's nothing wrong with including an icon with your text, but just making sure it's simple and clean is going to be a lot less distracting for your audience. And it's just gonna make you look more national. So those are my tips on the creation phase. But now comes the part that most of us dread the most. You've got to actually deliver the presentation. 6. Delivering Something Memorable: even confident presenters get nervous before going on stage. So you're definitely not alone. If you're feeling this way before presentation, what I want to walk you through now are some tips and best practices that I've gathered from experts as well, if things that I myself do before and during a present patient, and make sure that my audience he's engaged and feels like they actually learn something and were either entertained or touched positively in some way. So I want to start with power poses. Amy Cuddy is a social psychologist at Harvard Business School, and if you haven't watched her Ted talk on body language, it's definitely a must. I've actually included a link to it on the resource stock that I created for you. So go ahead and check that out after class. And she has this exercise that she leaves people through called Power Posing, and I actually want you to try it right now, whether you're sitting on your couch or in bed or at your office or wherever you're watching this classroom, I want you to stand up and put both arms above your head, spread out like a V. Now Amy suggests actually holding this post for two minutes, and then afterwards you'll see some interesting results. Typically, you might notice that your posture is better. You might be sitting up a little straighter and with that can be a sense of confidence. So I actually do this before any big talk that I give. And if you've seen Tony Robbins speak, he's another great example. So you may have spotted him jumping up and down and even on a trampoline, sometimes just to get energized and feel confident before heading out on stage. So think of the help. What will energize you and harness some of that nervous energy that you might be feeling so that you can pull that in and use that for your presentation rather than have it work against you. So on that note, once you actually get to the stage, you wanna have that commanding presence and gestures can be a great way to do this. But you want to think Steve jobs, not T. Rex so often. When we're nervous, we might kind of hunch over or pull our arms and close does as a safety mechanism and do kind of these tiny little gestures which I like to call t rex arms. It looks super awkward. So think about speaking with your hands and your arms and really using gestures to emphasize super important parts of your presentation. So now that you've got your body language down, how do you actually speak in a way that projects confidence? Ah, good rule of thumb is to show frames or slides about 14 to 21 seconds before talking about them. So as a presenter, this is going to feel like an eternity. But for the audience, they're getting a chance to soak in what you're putting in front of them so that they're actually ready to hear what you have to say about it. So pausing to leave a question on the air or to punch keywords is a fantastic way to give life to your speech, and you also want to keep it simple. Don't use big words when simple ones will do the trick. Albert Einstein says it best here. If you can't explain something simply, you don't understand it well enough. Another great example that I love is from the original Pirates of the Caribbean movie, and Geoffrey Rush's character says to cure Knightley's character. I am disinclined to acquiesce to your request, and then he looks at her and he goes, means no. And you're thinking, Why didn't you just say no? So you never want to make your audience feel stupid or scrambling to grasp a concept that you're trying to say or talk about. So for some inspiration, I've actually included on the resource sheet. I link to a mental floss article that has some amazing examples of this. So definitely check that out. And I would challenge you to practice, simplifying some complex concepts to their absolute simplest terms. You know whether that's taking a really complicated a couple of words and trying to write a little brief paragraph about it, and that's how you're gonna actually explain it to your audience. You also want to engage with your audience about every 3 to 4 minutes in a top, so it's really boring. Teoh, just listen to someone talk it you for an hour so you can ask a question or have people stand up and do an exercise with their neighbor or even take a poll. But definitely try and switch it up. So if you'll remember at the very beginning of this class, I asked all of you how many of you have sought through a boring presentation? And it's a question that, like, immediately gets you thinking about the topic at hand. So when you're thinking about your presentation, think about what types of questions would be interesting to Sprinkle throughout it. And then finally be vigilant about your words OEMs and likes and, you knows, creep into many presenter speeches. And it's not only distracting, but it also makes you sound unsure of what you're speaking about. And you also want to consider how fast you're speaking. Generally, when you're nervous, you speak a lot faster than you normally would. So consciously slowing down is key. So now you're thinking, OK, that's great. But how do I actually do this, right? So how do you try and eliminate this from your vocabulary? Aside from constant practice, well, there's actually several things that I would recommend that you dio first. You can record yourself speaking. Either grab your smartphone or a camera and actually practice your talk, review it with yourself or with a friend and catch spots where you said, um or other filler words, and then I would say, Do it again. You can also practice in the mirror. I actually do this a lot because I can also practice my gesturing this way and see which words I really want to emphasize with my hands. If I'm planning on giving a speech or a presentation to a large audience, if you want to be a little more drastic about eliminating filler words from your vocab, I've seen friends who have actually put rubber bands on their wrists and given themselves a little snap when they catch themselves saying a fill a word or just a general word they want to eliminate. And then finally, nothing beats live feedback. But one thing that I would say is make sure you're getting it from someone who will be honest with you. It doesn't help anyone to have a friend that just says, Oh, that was great. You're gonna be great when you know there are areas that need improving, so find someone who will give you clear, actionable feedback that you can keep. So those are my final tips for today on how you can deliver a memorable presentation. Thanks for sticking with me 7. Wrapping Things Up!: Congratulations, guys. You did it. You made it through the end of the class. I hope that you learned some things today that you can take back to the next presentation that you're planning to give and that you feel much more confident that you're going to deliver a great and memorable presentation. I really look forward to seeing all of your class projects. And please don't hesitate to leave any comments or questions that you have in the comments section. I'll make sure to monitor that help, have some conversations with you guys and answer any questions that I can. And I really look forward to seeing you in future classes. So I have an amazing day. Go be great presenters.