06/02/2014 11:21 am ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

How to Give a Near Perfect Presentation (And Why It's So Hard for So Many)


If you fear, dread or simply hate giving presentations, there may be a fundamental principle you're missing that's holding you back.

Presentations are one of the most feared and hated elements of being an entrepreneur, but if you can work past the tendency to overcomplicate the situation, you'll deliver gold to your audience without breaking a sweat.

There are two things about presentations that most entrepreneurs get hung up on:

1. Having to do a presentation.

2. Thinking about what a "presentation" needs.

Take a look at number one -- nobody likes to do presentations. They have to do presentations. And "having" to do presentations draws you into a sense of obligation you may not have felt since your high school English class. It makes you worry and procrastinate, which only make the presentation itself harder to do.

As for number two -- this is what gets so many entrepreneurs bogged down when they're planning the presentation out. More graphs. More numbers. More information. If you're like most, you're so busy worrying about how much crap you can cram into your presentation, you lose sight of what your presentation is ultimately trying to do -- which is why instead of focusing on the two problems above, you should focus on these two truths:

1. Your presentation has one goal.

2. To accomplish that goal, you need to tell a story.

That's it. Don't worry about finding the perfect font or animations for your PowerPoint, and don't worry about having the most complicated graphs and statistics. Those things can help in some situations, but these two truths are all you actually need to give a near-perfect presentation.

Even if your presentation has multiple interconnected goals, there is one master goal at the bottom line -- trying to get someone to do something (invest, buy, etc.). Don't include anything in your presentation that doesn't in some way help that goal. That means skipping or shortening the 10-minute section on historical background.

Instead, focus on telling a story. Make it a story you're passionate about. Instead of trying to piece together a Frankenstein presentation on all the independent dimensions of your core idea, throw away the fluff and tell a simple story. People love stories, and they'll be much more likely to hear the truth in your presentation if they can understand and appreciate what you're telling them.

The next time you struggle with a presentation, ditch the misconceptions and the unnecessary panic. Think simple.

Jose Vasquez is a serial entrepreneur and tech enthusiast dedicated to helping startup technology companies get the direction and momentum they need to succeed. As the founder of Build. Brand. Blast., Jose has established a collective resource for tech entrepreneurs to consult when brainstorming, creating, launching, or expanding a new business. Jose is also the founder and CEO of Quez Media Marketing, a marketing firm that combines technology and creativity to help new and growing companies get the results they need.

Jose graduated from Goldman Sachs' 10,000 Small Businesses program. Goldman Sachs is a partner of the What Is Working: Small Businesses section.

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