This is the first step you will take in your commitment to professionalism and presentation excellence. Congratulations!
So, let’s get started, in this first section I will discuss the most common stumbling blocks in the development of a presentation. I have personally delivered over 6000 presentations (call me quirky, I kept track) so I can tell you that I have had the opportunity of slaving over and making the same mistakes thousands of times until finally one day I said to myself there must be an easier way! I will share with you a quick one page Presentation Planner as a bonus download, to help you develop a presentation structure that used to take me hours and reduce it to only a few minutes for you. I’ll share my experiences to save you from having to make the same mistakes I did. I will tell it like it is, with my usual direct and opinionated style, hope you’re OK with that. Straight talking street smarts.
The most common roadblock I hear from my clients is, “I don’t know where to start in putting together a presentation”, or “I have so much information and I just can’t seem to organize it”. Then I get to have a chuckle when they then tell me “but I know how I’ll deliver it”, yup, a whiz bang PowerPoint® show…in fact hundreds of slides, flashy handouts and even throw in their best jokes that, how do I put this…you had to be there kind of humour.
Give me a break!… am I the only one that has drifted off to near REM while a presenter drones on aimlessly with no particular direction and I stare at the screen (right along with the presenter by the way) with heightened anticipation of how is it actually possible to put that many words on that next slide followed by a barrage of visual technical effects that would make Barnum & Bailey proud.
There, thanks for letting me get that off my chest. Now it’s truth telling time. Yes, I was one of those presenters and for many years I might add. Yes, I was guilty of creating ‘PowerPoint® Monsters”, in fact my finest effort was a 45 minute presentation with over 100 slides. If you could have seen me pointing my remote and advancing slides like a gun slinger. If you do the quick math, I believe a motion picture has less frames per second than my show did.
This 7 part program is not necessarily about PowerPoint® or various technical aspects of a presentation. It just so happens that topic usually comes up first and I think that choice should be made last…more on that later. Now don’t get me wrong, PowerPoint® is one of the most powerful visual mediums out there today…when used effectively.
This program will cover several areas of powerful presenting. Those areas will enable you to hone your own personal gifts of communication. Voice, gestures, delivery, confidence builders, audience participation techniques, powerful opening techniques and handling Question & Answer sessions to name a few. I hope it’s okay if I throw in a few extras now and again for good measure.
Here are the five core benefits of the program and also the core areas that are presenter downfalls:
More powerful ways for when and how to conclude a presentation
After these sessions you will be better prepared to tackle your toughest presentation issues with more ease, confidence and greater success.
Planning your outline: No Plan, No Presentation!
Too often we as presenters spend too much time on HOW will we will deliver a presentation rather than WHAT we will deliver in our presentations. Simply said, are you really clear what the point of your presentation is. Let me say that again…the one single, solitary point you will make. This doesn’t mean going to your computer hard drive or analog files and seeing the presentations you have on file and then doing what I call a force fit. No, not all the data, facts and figures and numerous sub points…the POINT. In my experience this is the first danger zone of structuring a presentation. Unless you are clear what your point is then you are not ready to make that presentation. Sure, you have endless knowledge and experience but your audience is interested in simple outcomes that are easy to digest in their cerebral processing. I’ve been there, more than that, and my head hurts, I’m overwhelmed with information that then quickly leads to throwing my arms up and saying forget it. And forget it I do, very quickly on many occasions in less than 24 hours. Not too moving or memorable a presentation wouldn’t you say?
Here’s a simple test to start to simplify your POINT. First, define your purpose. Ask yourself these questions: Is it your audience goal to inform?, educate?, demonstrate or influence thinking?
Then, here is the final test to determine and clarify your single POINT.
What would you like your audience (afterward) to:
Once you determine your single point everything else just naturally falls into place. You can then decide the sub points that will support your main point for consistency and application.
Next, for your sub points ask yourself what I call the ‘impact’ question. What impact (here’s the test, if any impact at all) will my sub points have. If you struggle with this one then it’s back to what was the point you were trying to make in the first place.
After that you can decide the flow of your presentation. Several options available here. You can take the audience from the unfamiliar to the familiar; take them from the old way of thinking to the new way of thinking and so on.
Your Presentation Planner as a free download is available by clicking on this link
TIP: If you find you run out of space on my presentation planner then it’s time to reread this lesson. There is adequate space on the planner to succeed in your outline planning
TIP: Plan your outline: Research suggests that over 80% of presenters ‘Wing it’
Don’t become a presentation statistic.
‘Winging it’ – Not a recommended approach!
In my experience, those that feel that they are fast on their feet or can improvise a speech or presentation are the only ones that feel that way.
So there you have it…Part 1 of 7 parts on the road to becoming a more powerful presenter. Don’t miss Part 2 by clicking here. If you have found the mini-course helpful then be sure to make your request to receive all parts of the 7 part Presentation Mini-Course daily with my compliments and no obligation.
You are probably thinking, that was easy…just kick back and take in information. Nope!…you’re first homework assignment is as follows. First download the Presentation Planner
Next, pull out your last and most recent presentation and see if you can make it fit the planner.
Are you able to answer the questions in the checklist I mentioned earlier? Was your presentation simply a data and information overflow?
Only you can answer those questions as a professional presenter.
Don’t miss Part 2 in the series on your journey to becoming a more powerful presenter.
I hope you have enjoyed Part 1 of “Presenting with Impact & Integrity”™ . This course is a series of excerpts from my full 30 day program. An e-brochure is available by clicking here.
Update: Peterson & Associates Presentation Services:
On-site Presentation Skills workshops customized to your needs. Starting from half day sessions to full 30 day intensive Master Presenter Certificate Programs. Ask us about our ‘Coach the Coach’ Program new for 2016.
Update: Looking for a speaker for your next conference?
Richard is a favourite on the corporate conference circuit as he brings his sharp wit and warm-hearted anecdotes to every event he attends. He is his own cast of characters with his entertaining and spontaneous persona. Also be sure to check out Richard’s other humour services and spoofs to liven up your next function or conference. Click the link for Humor Services.
See you for our next session…in the meantime,
Richard Peterson, North America’s Presentation Coach™
All bonus downloads and links are free to use as you see fit and feel free to pass along this content to other professionals that would benefit from presentation skill building. Feel free to pass along any of this information as you see fit. I appreciate if you find value in this material and ask your respect of copyright in the event you wish to reproduce any or all of this content. Written permission granted by request for reproduction of content Peterson & Associates 2016.