Six Steps to Presentation Success: Good Presentations don't just happen, Preparation is Key



PowerPoint continues its stranglehold over corporate presentations, limiting their creativity and stifling the main medium - you.

When I ask people to share examples of previous presentations, with only the rarest of exceptions, people dust off a trusty deck that has become depressingly synonymous with the beautiful art of presenting. And, as Internal Communicators, we've got to do more to curtail the curse. None of the greatest presentations that I have seen boast master slides, brand templates or the dreaded bulleted list, with sub bullets if you're really unlucky.

Instead of using a deck to prepare your presentation next time, use these 6 steps and use slides sparingly, as a weapon, not wallpaper:


1. Establish your communication goal: What are you trying to achieve with your presentation? It might be that you are informing people of something, or maybe you are involving people in a new initiative and gathering views, or perhaps you inspiring people to action, to behave differently? Being clear on your goal will enable you to craft a presentation with maximum impact.


2. Analyse your audience: What do you know about your audience? If you need to, spend some time gathering the information. It’s important to know who they are, why they are in the room together and what they want or need to hear. This enables you to tailor the content and tone of voice of your presentation to make it personal which ultimately makes it resonate more effectively.   


3. Write your success statement: If you only had 10 seconds what would you say? This should be memorable and repeatable so it stays with people after you’ve left the room.


4. Create your listeners’ journey: Establish your start and finish. Spend some time thinking about what your audience thinks, knows or feels before you begin and then work out what you want the audience to think, feel and do at the end.


5. Craft your content: Now work out how you are going to move your audience along that journey. What will you need to say to change perspectives?


6. Prepare your delivery: How are you going to deliver your presentation? What words might you use and how could you open and close the presentation? Only at this point do you need to start thinking about visuals. And remember the question is not: do I need slides, it’s: does my audience need slides?


Good presentations don’t just happen. Preparation is key, alongside effective delivery. Next time you’re preparing a presentation, try using the six steps above to create a truly impactful presentation.

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