Know your DESTINATION.The first step in creating effectivepresentations is to be really clear on whatyou want to achieve, where you want thepresentation to lead to..Think of your presentation as guiding youraudience from point A, what the audiencecurrently think, feel and do in relation toyour topic, to point B, what you want theaudience to think, feel and do as a result ofexperiencing your presentation.When you need to achieve specificoutcomes, know where you’re going andthen you can plan your route. Don’t let yourpresentation become a magical mysterytour!
Solve PROBLEMS“The only reason for the existence of apresentation of an idea is that it be ananswer to a problem.” – Henry BoettingerAll problems consist of a mismatch between2 things: Where we are now, and where wewant to be. The purpose of yourpresentation is to show your audience howto get to where they want to be.Your presentation should address a realproblem that the audience cares about andreally wants to solve. Even an ‘update’presentation may be able to help youraudience to do things better, cheaper orfaster.Rather than a person who just providesinformation, you can build a reputation assomeone who helps solves problems.Ker - ching!
What’s the BIG IDEA?Walking talking rabbits, time travel,schizophrenia, bizarre therapy sessions – noit’s not your company’s latest marketingupdate presentation, I’m talking about themovie Donnie Darko. Despite having a cultfollowing, it features on many ‘mostconfusing movies of all time’ lists, and themain message of the movie is still beingdebated by it’s own fans! You want to makesure you don’t do a ‘Donnie’ on youraudience. With the high costs of attending apresentation in terms of time and money,your audiences want and deserve completeclarity.An effective presentation develops one core,big idea and supports it with 3 or 4 keypoints.Will the audience be able to summarise in aword, a sentence or phrase what your nextpresentation is about?
Be a giver of VALUE.You may have a very clear, specific objective,but your presentation isn’t really about you,it’s about your audience, and what’s in it forthem. Remember people will listen to youfor their own reasons, not for yours.Look for ways to add value to youraudience. Focus on their needs andwants. What questions do they needanswering? What concerns do they have?What would make their time with youworthwhile?Focusing on your audience and giving valuehas two big benefits for you too. First is youstop worrying about how you’re comingacross , you’re too busy thinking about howyou can serve their needs. And second, youstart to connect at a deeper level, talkingwith them rather than at them.So... why would your audience want to dowhat you want them to do?
Brainstorm, group and REFINE.Brainstorm: Brainstorm all the possible content that could help you achieve your desired outcome. Use post-t notes to capture ideas. One idea per post-it. Set a time limit and go for quantity over quality – just get all those ideas out of your head. The brain dump must be part of your preparation not your presentation. Don’t judge ideas, consider them all as contenders rather than finalists at this stage. Group: To start to turn the chaos into some form of order, you can group connected ideas into clusters or themes (3 or 4 is good). This is the advantage of using sticky notes and index cards – you can move them around. Refine: Now that you’ve defined the possible content, it’s time to reduce that down to just the critical ideas. Be ruthless with your editing - what doesn’t add to achieving your outcome will detract from it.
Classical storySTRUCTURE. Are you sitting comfortably? An effective way of structuring your presentation is by thinking of it in terms of a story, with a clear beginning (Act I), middle (Act II) and end (Act III). People are already familiar with this three-act structure through the stories told to us in film, documentaries and books. This is how a presentation could look using this structure: Act I: Opening, problem statement (where the audience is now, and where they want to be), your solution key point overview Act II: detailed information to support each solution key point Act III: summary of problem and solution key points, Q&A, conclusion and call to action
StealTHUNDER. “Stealing thunder” is when you bring up a point against your recommendation and then systematically get rid of it. It’s a concern you’d have to answer at some point anyway, but now you’ll be seen as more credible and understanding than if it was raised by someone else first. As you prepare, include all the information to support your viewpoint, but also anticipate the likely objections, concerns or questions your audience will have and how you will answer them. Some people don’t always voice their objections or concerns during the presentation. Stealing thunder is a practical way to help potential silent objectors feel heard, open up and gain their support.
Use the principle ofPLEASURE & PAIN.This is one of the most valuable ideas, in fact it’s the key to selling your ideas. The principle is: We are all motivated towards people, experiences and companies that can help us feel pleasure and/or avoid pain. We’re basically all rushing around trying to find ways to feel good. Think about a sales presentation. What pleasure feelings does your audience want to feel? They probably want to be able to trust that you have their best interests at heart. They want to feel understood and have confidence and certainty they’re making the right decision to buy from you. What typical pain feelings do they want you to help them avoid? Things like: feeling misled, misunderstood, vulnerable, confused, bored, stupid. So how can you help your audience to feel good about themselves, you and your ideas?
Use simple elements of DESIGN.The B-I-G message: We are all (A-L-L)designers. Each and every one of us givesoff dozens – probably hundreds, perhapsmore – of ‘design cues’ every day. In theway we present ourselves, our projectoutput.”-Tom PetersWe are all designers. Yes, even you! Everytime you present your slides or a documentit says more about you than you mightrealise. Here are some simple ideas to giveyour visuals a more designed look:• Reduce the amount of text on slides by creating a handout for the detail• Slides should resemble a newsreader’s background graphics rather than their teleprompter• Keep headings, colours, fonts type and size consistent• Replace text with relevant quality images
Give the numbers MEANING.When you show slides showing data, it’simportant to see them from your audience’sperspective. People aren’t interested in thedata on it’s own, they’re interested in whatthe data means to them.To make it easier for your audience, considerusing handouts to show complex data anduse your slides to interpret the data,highlighting the information that’s importantfor your audience to know.Another way to display data effectively is tostrip the visual clutter or ‘Chart Junk’ awayfrom your charts and graphs so the mainpoint the data is making can be understoodat a glance.Don’t make your audience work too hard!
Don’t create FRANKEN-SLIDES.Franken-slides: The result of trying to cobbletogether slides from different presentations.How many people, as soon as they hear theyhave a presentation to give, immediatelystart looking for a ‘presentation donation’ -in other words slides from presentationsthat they or their colleagues have deliveredbefore.The result can be visuals that look cobbledtogether and don’t seem to belong to thesame presentation. Inconsistent fonts,colours and overall style create theequivalent of continuity issues thatsometimes crop up in films and TV.Look for ways to create consistencythroughout your slides and avoid creating amonster of a slide deck!
Be anEMOTIONALIST. Greek philosopher, Aristotle, claimed that to persuade, you must use 3 types of argument: credibility and honesty (ethos), emotion (pathos), and logic (logos). Facts aren’t enough to persuade on their own. Most people tend to buy for emotional reasons and then justify with logic. In other words, think + feel = do So when you plan your presentation or training, think in terms of creating an experience for your audience rather than just delivering information. What positive target emotions do you want your audience to feel? A sense of wonder? Motivated? Trust? Confident? You can use things like stories, metaphors, benefits, humour, evocative images and surprise to help create those emotions. Go on. Bring out your inner theatre director. 23
Let people see theREAL YOU. “Just be yourself.” How many times have you heard that! It’s true, we connect better with people who are being real, but when it comes to giving presentations, it’s not as easy as it sounds. People that are naturally warm, engaging and interesting can suddenly switch to ‘presenter mode’ - using words, phrases and odd body movements they they would never use normally. They end up boring their audiences while their personality and reputation is tragically flat lining. To let the real you shine through: • Adopt a more natural conversational style rather than give a rigid speech. • Avoid ‘big’ words and jargon – use normal language your audience will connect with • Express your emotions – let the audience see and hear how you feel about your content - speak from the heart
Present with PASSION.We’re not talking rampant motivationalspeaker style (unless you are a rampantmotivational speaker), just that you connectwith your audience on an emotional andintellectual level. It’s delivering yourmessage with a sense of energy andhonesty, and genuinely wanting tocontribute to others.Even if you’ve been handed down apresentation you’ve had no part in puttingtogether, look for how the content can helpyour audience and tap into your feelings ofwanting to add value.After all, if you’re not enthusiastic aboutwhat you’re saying, why should anyone elsebe?Ok. We’re done with this tip. Everybodyshout “I am a presentation superstar!” andhigh five the person next to you.
Have a clear call to ACTION.Your call to action is the purpose of yourpresentation, it’s where it’s all been leadingto. Whether you’re trying to inform,entertain, or sell, an effective presentationneeds a call to action that clearly states whatyou want the audience to do next.What do you want your audience to do? Signthe contract? Buy the product? Agree to thenext meeting? Provide feedback? Rememberand apply new skills and knowledge? That’syour call to action.Whatever your desired outcome may be, besure to clearly state what the next steps areduring your conclusion. Finish strong and onpurpose!
Think and feel differently to STAND OUT.What does presenting mean to you?Something you’ve got to give, or get to give?A means to sell products and services andearn commission, or a chance to sincerelyhelp clients succeed? A way to dispenseinformation and instructions to yourworkforce, or an opportunity to inspirepeople to work together to overcome a newchallenge?The way you view presentations and youraudience affects how you feel. And how youfeel ultimately affects how you treat boththe presentation and your audience. Youmay not even be fully aware of how you’recoming across, but your audience will be.Here’s an important point. Most peopledon’t like to present and they don’t knowhow to prepare. By changing how you thinkand feel about presentations you’ll naturallystart to do the things that will help youstand out for all the right reasons.
For PDF copies, or to find out how I can help you create compelling presentations, send an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org “It was fantastic. The content was “I would like to say thank you for making the 100% on the button. Best training course so relevant for us all and also for course I’ve attended!” pitching the days just right so the nerves managed to magically fade!!” Kyle Dawson, Sales Account Manager Charlotte Bantleman, Pricing Manager“Great course, and even in the 2 days I sawa big improvement in my delivery of mypresentation. Possibly the best course I have “Unlike any presentation training seendone so far with TGP and was really beneficial!!” before, has given me a new way of looking at how to communicate a message. GreatCharlotte Mullaly, Sales Account Manager course. Thanks Adrian!” Andrew Becconsall, Credit Team Manager Photos from iStockPhoto.com/Frankenstein image by Rick Baker 2005