If you are growing and advancing your life, there will be times when you need to give a presentation. A presentation is not limited to the times you stand in front of a group of people. It also includes conference call presentations, conference room presentations, one-on-one presentations, and even written presentations.
One of the ways to stand out among your peers and competitors and increase your value to the market is to learn how to prepare and deliver effective presentations.
Years ago I took a class on public speaking by Bert Decker Communication. It was an exceptional experience that is still vivid in my mind today. During this training, the key elements of effective presentations were discussed.
Since then I have added a few more points to my checklist that I review before EVERY blog post I write and every presentation I give. I open this document and answer these 10 questions. Once these questions are answered, I piece together my presentation.
Ten questions to answer as you prepare each presentation
1. Who’s my audience? When communicating with a new audience, identify them. Who are they? What’s their profile? Why should they care about what you have to say? The more you learn about your audience, the more you can connect with them.
2. What’s my goal? Write ONE sentence describing the goal of your presentation. Make sure you are crystal clear on what you want the audience to take-a-way from your comments.
3. What’s my Point of View (POV) on the subject? Write ONE sentence clearly describing your point of view on the subject. This is your position on the topic.
4. What are the benefits to my audience? Make a list of all the benefits your audience will enjoy if they act upon your message. People need to understand the positive results they will experience if they do what you propose.
5. What’s the downside if people don’t act? Some points can be made more effectively if you point out the downside risks of not heeding your advice. As an example, people know the benefits of being on time, but pointing out that being late is considered as being rude, irresponsible and disrespectful, may be more effective.
6. What are my main body points? Prepare an outline of the major points of your speech or document. Drain your brain and list everything that comes to your mind. After you have everything listed, organize it.
7. Can I find appropriate quotes and supportive information? If there are sources that can be used to add credibility to your presentation, include or list them.
8. Is there a story that I can use to communicate my point(s)? If there is a relevant illustration or anecdote that can be told to make your point memorable, include it.
9. What’s my call to action? What action do you want your audience to take? Have you noticed my call to action at the end of all my lessons, both on my blog and in my book?
10. What would be an encouraging statement? Is there a positive and encouraging statement that would be appropriate to use in the conclusion of your presentation? I always like to end on a high point.
If your presentation is in a written format, have it edited. No matter how good of a writer you are, having someone you respect edit your work will likely improve it.
When you are invited to make a presentation, accept the challenge. The times in your life when you grow the most are when you push yourself outside your comfort zone to do what you’ve never done before.
I can still recall my first group presentation 21 years ago. I scripted out what I wanted to share word for word and practiced it in front of a video camera. Even though I was so nervous my underwear stuck to my butt, my preparation and practice allowed me to give the best presentation I was capable of giving at that time.
While there are other factors that contribute to giving great presentations—such as the use of visual aids, making eye contact with your audience, a neat appearance, and speaking with confidence—these 10 points will help you structure your presentation.
Dale Carnegie once said, “There are always three speeches, for every one you actually gave. The one you practiced, the one you gave, and the one you wish you gave.”
So that you will be able to deliver the speech you wish you had given, let me encourage you to print out this post. Use it as your check list as you prepare your next presentation. As you follow these tips, your confidence will grow and your level of nervousness and fear will be greatly reduced.
The secret to a successful presentation is found in your preparation.
About the Author: Todd Smith is a successful entrepreneur of 30 years and founder of Little Things Matter. To receive Todd’s lessons, subscribe here. All Todd’s lessons are also available on iTunes as downloadable podcasts. (Todd’s podcasts are ranked #20 in America’s top 100 podcasts and #1 in the personal and development field.)