This post is a presentation guide for your brilliant self out there with more influence — an easy step-by-step checklist you use to put together a compelling and engaging presentation. With all the digitalized communication channels available to us, speaking face to face before a group is by far the MOST powerful way to get your message out. There are several reasons for this.
3 Reasons why your presentation is MORE important now than EVER before:
1. There is more clutter in the environment. I’m talking about distractions.
2. People have more to do. (Some of you are doing what 2 or more people used to do at work.) Hence people are more distracted.
3. Not only is it harder to gather people into a common physical space, often they’re not really there. (i.e. They’re texting, emailing, playing solitaire during your talk.) People are distracted.
Because people are distracted, you have to be a stronger communicator to reach them. Get it?
7 Steps to Your High-Impact Presentation….whether it’s to your science club, your medical association or your teen-aged kids.
1. Why are you presenting? I mean really, get to the core of your purpose for talking to these people.
Is it to share new information?
To build relationships?
To get the next appointment?
To collect contributions for your cause?
To attract investors?
To close the deal today?
To quell the rumor mill?
You’ll probably have more than 1 answer. Put your answers in order of importance. Not only does this drive the entire presentation, it helps your brain focus on the task at hand.
2. To whom are you speaking?
The more you know about your audience, the more you can customize your message. It’s likely that the different people in the audience have a variety of motives for being there (and perhaps some of them don’t even want to be there.)
Write down what you know about the demographics and other interesting tidbits about what they’re into.
How much do they know about your topic? Do they care about your topic?
3. What’s the essence of your message?
Look at your answer to #1 and get that core message down to a single sentence. Imagine that you were allowed to drill 1 sentence into their permanent memory, what would that sentence be?
Here’s an example from my talk on decision making:
While there is no single formula for successful decisions, all of your decisions can move your closer to what you want, if you’re clear on what that actually is.
4. What’s a personal story that related you to your topic and to your audience?
This will become your introduction, most likely. If you don’t have a personal anecdote, you probably don’t need to be making that presentation.
In my above example, I tell how I used to think that success was making that one decision correctly and because of this pressure to get it right I never made decisions and thus I was forced to live with the decisions other people made for me.
5. What are 3 to 5 arguments that support your personal story and core message?
The number of reasons, or arguments, depends somewhat on the length of your presentation. Generally it’s better to give fewer reasons that are better supported with evidence, testimonies, stories or studies.
Say less and say it more often.
Use your more powerful reasons/evidence first.
6. What kind of images make your presentation more powerful?
Hint: the answer to this question is not slides filled with bullet points. Use as few bullet points as possible.
Find images that support your message at an emotional level because what you want really is to share your excitement with your audience. To see a master at this, watch this presentation by Seth Godin by clicking here.
Depending on how much quantitative information you want to share, consider putting together a hand out. They probably won’t read it but it’s there for back up.
7. What’s the best outcome for you audience that’s related to your message?
This is your conclusion. Too many times, presentations end with a whimper instead of a bang. Don’t let this happen to you. The easy way to conclude with the wow factor is to get back to your personal anecdote.
Somehow you want to paint a picture of the future for your audience, what the possibilities are if they accept your message.
It’s also good to end with a powerful quotation.