Showmanship is part of being a speaker. These do’s and don’ts will help keep all the trainees’ eyes on you:


  • Practice your presentation. You don’t need to memorize it, but the more familiar you are with the content, the more knowledgeable you will appear.
  • Dress one step up nicer than the trainees, but don’t come in dressed to the nines. Wear comfortable shoes.
  • Get familiar with the room prior to speaking. Ask about it or see for yourself. But be aware of the layout and potential problems for your presentation.
  • Give yourself plenty of time to get set up to avoid the nervous sweats.
  • Always introduce yourself and quickly reference your accolades. But remember you want to be memorable and that means less is more.
  • Always make eye contact with your audience and smile as you talk.
  • Make natural movements during your presentation. Step away from the podium and cover the room if possible.
  • Refer to notes sparingly, but keep them handy in case you need them.
  • If you introduce new terms, acronyms, or initialisms, repeat them and write them down.
  • Repeat, repeat, repeat key points. Repetition is how they remember.
  • Remember if you are enthusiastic and engaging, your audience will be too.


  • Don’t put your hands in your pockets, slouch or wave your hands around too much.
  • If you need to turn your back to write something, stop talking as you write.
  • Use examples and the occasional story to reinforce the material, but don’t illustrate every point with a personal story.
  • Don’t sit down during your presentation unless you’re with a small group and everyone can see and hear you.
  • Don’t forget that a microphone works best held to your mouth and not at your naval.
  • Watch the “ummms.” Avoid using your favorite verbal placeholder as your speak; replace it with a silent pause as you collect your thoughts.
  • Don’t read the screen throughout your presentation. This means you did not prepare enough. It should be a slide to support your points.
  • Don’t forget to read the room. You will be able to tell if they lose interest. Step up your voice and tone to re-engage.
  • Don’t forget pauses. They can be powerful ways to amplify your points.
  • Don’t forget to end with what you want your audience to take away the most. Circle back on your points and of course how they can reach you!


By: Kelly Jackson, Executive Director

St. Louis Council of Construction Consumers (SLC3)