Oral-Presentation Tips From County Pros

We asked five business professionals: “What’s your best tip for giving an oral presentation at work?”

“I provide the information as briefly as possible and use storytelling to demonstrate the idea or point. Storytelling is the most powerful way to connect with people emotionally and have them ‘get’ the point you’re making. They may not remember all the brilliant ideas bulleted in your presentation, but they will remember the story you told them.”

—Patty Franco, Owner, Elements Massage in White Plains

“Preparing for an oral presentation is like studying for a test—the more familiar and comfortable you are with the content, the better you’ll do. I always prepare speaker notes ahead of time, but rarely use them during the presentation because I don’t want to be confined by what’s on the paper.”

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—Les Matthews, Senior Business Leader, US Emerging Payments Sales Team, MasterCard Worldwide in Purchase

“When you are in front of a group, speak with deep conviction—say things you really mean and believe. Your own sincerity will help persuade your audience effectively.”

—Susan Edwards, Director of Communications and Advancement, Westchester Community Foundation in Hartsdale

“Preparation, both in terms of content and understanding your audience, is the most important component of a presentation. Set aside time to focus on the main components of the presentation: the theme, the composition of the audience, and the message you want to convey.”

—Steven Brown, President and CEO, Greyston in Yonkers

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“Being an amateur magician, I sometimes like to break the ice with a card trick. It sets the mood since it matches my fun and very down-to-earth personality. So, unlike my colleagues, who may be preparing notes or flash cards, I am in front of a mirror with a deck of cards!”

—Mario Mirabello, Owner and Creative Director, MSM DesignZ, Inc. in Tarrytown

“Get to any business presentation early. It will give you time to set up, work out any technical issues, and it also gives you the opportunity to interact with your audience before giving your big pitch. Meeting them and engaging in some small talk can help you feel more comfortable and boost your confidence, too.”

—Noel D’Allacco, Founder, Operation PROM in Bronxville 

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