By Emma Ban­nis­ter, Founder and CEO of Pre­sen­ta­tion Stu­dio


with­out a melt­down

Let’s face it. Most busi­ness pre­sen­ta­tions miss a mas­sive op­por­tu­nity. Hours, days, even weeks are wasted craft­ing lack­lus­tre Pow­erPoints that once ex­e­cuted and de­liv­ered are largely for­got­ten the mo­ment ev­ery­one leaves the room. My vi­sion is sim­ple: to change the world for the bet­ter, one pre­sen­ta­tion at a time. Re­mem­ber, a pre­sen­ta­tion can be your most in­flu­en­tial busi­ness tool, no mat­ter the fo­rum or au­di­ence, so it’s worth in­vest­ing your time and en­ergy to get it right ev­ery time. How do you cre­ate a pre­sen­ta­tion that peo­ple will walk away from re­mem­ber­ing and want­ing more? These are my top six tips:

Know your why. What is the pri­mary pur­pose of your pre­sen­ta­tion? Are you try­ing to ed­u­cate, sell, share re­sults or spread ideas? We de­fine a suc­cess­ful pre­sen­ta­tion as one that achieves its ob­jec­tives, some­thing that is of­ten over­looked by the speaker when start­ing.

De­fine what prob­lem you’re solv­ing for the au­di­ence and use the end of the pre­sen­ta­tion to state what you want the au­di­ence to do. En­sure you un­der­stand and ad­dress the needs of your au­di­ence. Ken Hae­mer, AT&T’s for­mer pre­sen­ta­tion re­search man­ager, said, “Writ­ing a pre­sen­ta­tion with­out an au­di­ence in mind is like writ­ing a love let­ter ad­dressed To Whom It May Con­cern!” You need to paint a pic­ture of them, their bi­ases, needs and con­cerns.

What is the one thing you want your au­di­ence to walk away with? Ac­cord­ing to cog­ni­tive neu­ro­sci­en­tist Dr Car­men Si­mon, au­di­ences re­mem­ber less than 10 per cent of pre­sen­ta­tions. To help them re­mem­ber the bits you want, use per­sonal sto­ries to re­late and em­pha­sise your mes­sage through­out your pre­sen­ta­tion to help it stick.

If it’s a re­port, you need sup­port­ing in­for­ma­tion; treat the lay­out like a mag­a­zine that peo­ple read in their own time. High­light im­por­tant fea­tures like quotes and data. If it’s a pre­sen­ta­tion, strip out the con­tent. Peo­ple are com­ing to hear from you and the slides need to be vis­ual and sup­port what you’re say­ing. You are there to bring some­thing more to the pre­sen­ta­tion – not nar­rate from the screen. Make it in­ter­est­ing and in­for­ma­tive in a per­sonal way.

Data vi­su­al­i­sa­tion gives your au­di­ence the abil­ity to see things dif­fer­ently and the in­tel­li­gence to un­der­stand. Do the hard work for them and vi­su­alise the key in­sight, don’t dis­play a com­plex graph and ex­pect them to un­der­stand what the data is say­ing. Many clients think they need to share all their re­search on their slides (we call it the ‘curse of knowl­edge’). Our job is to shift this ‘old school’ cul­ture and en­cour­age them to save the de­tail for re­ports. Don’t be re­stricted to the ‘per­fect num­ber of slides for a pre­sen­ta­tion’. There is no such thing. I have given short pre­sen­ta­tions with over a hun­dred slides. The im­por­tant thing is that your vis­ual matches what you are say­ing and the font is large enough to read (min­i­mum 30 points). Keep an­i­ma­tions sim­ple and use them when it makes sense to in­tro­duce some in­for­ma­tion for the ben­e­fit of your au­di­ence, not just be­cause it looks pretty.

Be­ing pre­pared re­duces nerves and anx­i­ety on the day. Prac­tise out loud, not just in your head, and al­ways come in un­der time to al­low for ques­tions. pre­sen­ta­tion­stu­

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