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Presentation Skills: Planning Your Presentation

Posted by on October 24, 2011

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Last time, we discussed how important it is to decide on your presentation objective. Why, after all, are you presenting in the first place? Now that you know how to create your objective, we can move on to the next step: Planning Your Presentation. How are you going to get your point across?

Planning Your Presentation

A well planned presentation follows the old adage, “Tell them what you’re going to tell them, then tell them, then tell them what you just told them.”

Benefits of planning your presentation include:

  • Forcing you to define the purpose of your presentation
  • Increasing your understanding of your presentation

When you plan your presentation, you must decide what you are going to tell your audience. To do this, look at your objective and ask “What does my audience need to know to act on this?” Write down every point that comes to mind. List anything that could be relevant to your subject. Use single words or phrases, don’t write sentences. Don’t question anything you’ve written until you are finished. Making these rough notes should take only a few minutes. Then look through the list and weed out all irrelevant facts, being sure all your major points are covered. Limit yourself to essential points. You want to give your audience just what they need to know, no more and no less. Remember, don’t cloud the issue with too much information. The points that remain on your list after the sorting process are your KEY POINTS.

Review your objective. Be certain that the key points you have selected are the ones your audience needs to know in order to take the requested action. You are now ready to organize your presentation.

Please tune in next week to learn about Organizing Your Presentation.

Karen Holmes is a CGWA Senior Consultant and Trainer, based in the U.S. and delivering programs such as  Coaching, Positive Power and Influence, Presentation Skills, and many more.

Presentation Skills: What do I want these people to do?

Posted by on October 10, 2011

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Presentation SkillsPresentations are a regular feature of our business landscape. Successful business people must have effective oral presentation skills. It is during those presentations that you explain, present, analyze and sell your ideas, plans, proposals and decisions. Successful business people realize that a presentation meets a need that a written report cannot fill. It allows your audience to see and judge you, allows questions to be answered on the spot, hastens decision making, and leads to action.

One of the difficulties of making a presentation is deciding what you want to say. What should your audience take away? What action should they take? If you don’t know where you are going, how are you going to get there? All of us would agree this is true for an automobile trip. Clear, concise directions ensure that you will reach your final destination. This is also true of a presentation. A successful presentation begins with a clearly defined objective. A well-conceived objective will tell you “where you are going.” It’s important to write down your objective before you get started.

The first step in writing your objective is to determine what action you want your audience to take when you are finished with your presentation. Be sure to use a verb that indicates precisely what you want your audience to do. The following list may assist you in selecting the correct verb.

Action Verbs

  • to buy
  • to invite
  • to comply
  • to select
  • to introduce
  • to change
  • to use
  • to call
  • to organize
  • to monitor
  • to authorize
  • to meet with

Once you have stated the action you want your audience to take, the next step is determine why they should take that action. What’s in it for them? How will they benefit? You must have the benefits clearly defined in order to convey them to your audience.

People are more likely to follow the action you request when they see the benefit in it for them. Your objective must state the benefits as well as the action.

The final step in writing your objective is to be sure it’s realistic. If you ask for more than you can achieve in your presentation, you are just wasting everyone’s time. Be sure you’re asking for something that your audience can say “yes” to.

When you have completed your objective, put it through this check list:

  1. What action do I want my audience to take?
  2. How will my audience benefit?
  3. Is it realistic?

If your objective answers each of these questions, it is well-written and will assist you in achieving your goal. Your direction is clear, and your audience knows where you are going.

Karen Holmes is a CGWA Senior Consultant and Trainer, based in the U.S. and delivering programs such as Coaching, Positive Power and Influence, Presentation Skills, and many more.