Imagine a sports person taking the field for a key match without months of preparation coupled with the required experience? But this is what so many presenters do – they step up to the podium inadequately prepared thinking their product knowledge and charm will get them through. Maybe it does, or maybe it doesn’t. The more important question is – did they achieve the desired outcome? Almost always the answer is no. Here’s why.
Whenever you’ve experienced an outstanding presentation you can usually deduce that much preparation has gone into making it work. However, sometimes it can be so flawless that one hardly notices. That is the idea, and it almost always illicits the desired result. There it is again – the desired result. Must there always be one? Well, that’s for you to decide, but if it is important to you, here is a preparation blueprint for you containing the 9 fundamental nuggets you have to include so that you can attain your objective:
Nugget 1: Think carefully about who you’ll be speaking to. An excellent presentation targeted to the wrong audience is a poor presentation. Your content and delivery should be easy to relate to for the majority of people in this audience. If you ‘re not sure of the audience profile, it is very important that you find out.
Nugget 2: Decide on what the audience should do after your presentation. Everything you do should be geared towards the actions you’d like them to take afterwards. Anything not attuned to this can be deleted.
Nugget 3: Decide on the mood you are aiming to create. Are you wanting to scare the living hell out of them, make them laugh, build patriotism, encourage philanthropy or get them to take responsibility? Delivering content alone won’t achieve this. It’s how it’s delivered that will determine this very important factor.
Nugget 4: Have a well worked structure. You should start strong and end strong. You also need some stuff in the middle that entrenches the mood you are creating and explains what you’re on about.
Nugget 5: Slash your slides to pieces. Eliminate unnecessary slides, and thin out the content of the slides that are left. Just one picture per slide and please no logos, no matter what your MD says! Logos can go on banners at the door on the side (of the podium*).
Nugget 6: When planning your content, include something unique that stands out and makes you different. I once saw the Legacy speaker, Neil Dorward having a conversation with an old version of himself on the TV screen during his keynote. Brilliant – and different. I’ve never forgotten it. Another example was watching Nicola Tyler drawing sketches on her sketch board which were projected on screen while she spoke. Had me riveted.
Nugget 7: When you rehearse (you absolutely must rehearse, especially if it’s a first time presentation!) use the first run to settle the flow of your content. Use any subsequent rehearsals to focus on your delivery. This is where you practice creating the right mood. Use the 2nd or 3rd rehearsal to check your time with a stopwatch.
Nugget 8: Be extremely well organized on the day. This means setting it up properly the day before so that nothing can stress you on the day. This includes a decent sleep the night before. Being well prepared and rehearsed is the only guarantee you can give yourself of good night’s sleep. Why? Well if you know what you’re going to say, when you’re going to say it and how it will come across, what’s to worry about?
Nugget 9: Have a “What Next” Plan. Assuming they love what you say, what can they do next. How can they view the presentation, buy your stuff, subscribe to your newsletter or online training, donate to the cause or spread the word. You need to be ready to strike while the iron’s hot. That will be straight after the kettle has boiled!
The only time that you need not do all 9 of the nuggets above is when the presentation is not important to you. However, if it’s unimportant, you don’t really deserve an audience, because by dishing them up something half-baked, you’re implying that they weren’t worth the trouble – and that constitutes an insult.
Presentations should therefore always be done properly, from beginning to end. It shows respect for your audience, and it will always do you the world of good.