Six-Step Guarantee for Powerful Presentations
By Wendy Warman
 

You've got to make a presentation at your next meeting. There's no getting around it. But you ask yourself, "Where do I start? What information must I include? How can I organize the presentation in such a way that will get results?"

Presentations are an integral part of business. How well you present your ideas can have a major impact on your success and the success of your organization. An audience's time is valuable-don't waste it. You owe your listeners a well-prepared, interesting presentation.

The secret to an effective presentation is to break it down into manageable parts, starting with the results or response you want to achieve. As you prepare your next presentation, here are six steps that should lead you to a more effective and personally satisfying performance that takes less time to prepare and deliver.


 
Step 1. Establish Your Objectives
 

Without a doubt, this often overlooked step is the most important one in the planning process. You need to ask. "Why am I making this presentation?" not "What am I going to say?" Start by determining what you want to accomplish with your presentation. Your objectives must be realistic and achievable, immediate, and essentially selfish. They represent what you want to have happen during and after your presentation.


Step 2. Analyze Your Audience
 

Next, turn the tables-think about your audience's needs and wants. What do you need to know about your audience's knowledge, attitudes, likes, and dislikes to increase the probability of achieving your objectives? What is likely to get your audience to do what you want them to do?


 
Step 3. Prepare Your Preliminary Plan
 

The preliminary plan is not a speaking outline. Think of it as a conceptual guide to help you determine what will most logically lead to accomplishing your presentation objectives. This should be a blueprint for developing your ideas and deciding how much and what kind of information you will need.

 

 
Step 4. Select Resource Material
 

Finding enough resource material to supplement your talking points is not difficult. The challenge is selecting what and how much material you should include. Ask yourself the following questions:

  • What is the purpose of this presentation?
  • What should you cover? What can you eliminate?
  • What amount of detail do you need?
  • What must you say if you are to reach your presentation objectives?
  • What is the best way to say it?
  • What kind of audience action or response are you seeking?
  • What material should you withhold from your presentation but have available for reference?
Finally, submit all your resource material to the "Why?" test. Be sure you can justify why you selected the material and how it will contribute to achieving your objectives
 

 
Step 5. Organize Materials
 

Like any good story, your presentation needs a beginning, middle, and end. Presenters often spend most of their time organizing content and very little on their opening and closing statements-perhaps the most important parts of your presentation.

An audience is most attentive at the beginning of your presentation, but it can turn off quickly. Take advantage of this small window of opportunity with a well-honed opener that grabs your audience and conveys the main point of your presentation in the first few minutes.

Follow your main ideas with analogies, quotes from current newspapers or magazines, personal stories, examples, illustrations, relevant statistics, or visual aids.

Audience attention and retention peak again with your closing statement. Integrate your opening points into your closing statements. This shows cohesiveness and gives your presentation a powerful ending. Closings will impress your audience if they are challenging, a summary of your key points, suggest an agreement or recommend specific action, or present quotes, facts, or statistics.

 

 
Step 6. Practice Your Presentation
 

It's a rare individual who can take even a well-prepared presentation and deliver it effectively on the first attempt. Most of us have had the experience of planning a presentation that looks good on paper only to have it fall flat in the real world.

Preparation is not complete until you have rehearsed your presentation, whether practicing aloud to yourself, using an audio-or-videotape recorder, or giving a "dry run" before someone who can respond like your intended audience.

Each of these six steps offers a separate and distinct contribution, and none of them should be overlooked. When you take the time to move through this six-step process, it should guarantee that your next presentation is delivered LOUD AND CLEAR!

 





About Wendy
About Wendy
Speech & Voice Coaching

Public Speaking
and Communication Skills Training

Co-Author Loud
& Clear


 
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