According to SMI, Success
Motivation Institute, there were 1,684,061 meetings held in 2000. So hold on
to your hat, because there will be even more meetings in 2001. You will hear
some presenters that sparkle, but reality tells us there will be some duds -
those that just don't connect. Have you ever said to yourself, 'This presenter
has no clue who their audience is, who I am, or why we are here!' And, wham,
you stop listening!
There are 10 simple preplanning
tips that should be addressed EVERYTIME we have the honor of presenting to a
group of one or a gathering of many. This check will never let you down!
Presentation Check List:
1. Purpose: Why am I here,
why is the audience here? Answer these two questions and you can have the group
in the palm of your hand. Do your homework and you will connect with the audience.
Send e-mails to at least 8 people prior to the presentation to understand their
current issues, problem, challenges and wants. Tell the audience you know what
their needs are because you asked.
2. Close: Call to action,
next steps. What do you want them to do, think or feel that is different than
the way they came in to your presentation? Also note that this is not the last
step of planning the presentation but number two. If you know exactly what you
want and what they want, the true content will flow and save time in the presentation
development time. Also, when you say 'in conclusion, …' you should wrap up in
3 minutes or less! Include what you want them to remember, the key point, the
hot tip, the number one step they must take. Memorize the close. This can be
a nerve racking time and if the material is memorized, you stay one step ahead
by ending with power rather that weakness.
3. Opening: The opening
must be powerful and thought evoking because this will capture attention and
create interest. Start with a starteling statistic, not information on how cool
you are. The audience wants to know what they are going to hear and why they
should listen, then maybedeliver a sound bite on the messenger. Also, if you
are going to be introduced, give the introduces EXACTLY what you want them to
say and tell them to please deliver the introduction with enthusiasm.
4. Body: State the case
and support with evidence, facts and examples. It is easy to use stories we
are comfortable with, just make sure the tale relates to the point. We have
all heard some terrific stories, and wind up thinking to ourselves…'And the
point is?' Unless each participant has a handout, I recommend keeping the body
to three key points. No more. The literary masters figured this out a long time
ago. Goldilocks and the Three Bears, The Three Little Pigs and so on.
5. Add Spice: Re-engage
the audience every 6-8 minutes. Tell a story, relate a surprising figure, use
a quote, have the group do something, ask a rhetorical question but the pace
must be changed. If you are working with teens or children, add spice ever 3-4
minutes. Think of Sesame Street. They change themes every 30 - 45 seconds. And
how about MTV - it gives me a headache! Changing the pace every 6-8 minutes
will keep your audience on the edge of their seat. By the way, we like our information
short and sweet. There were many nay sayers when USA Today hit the news stands.
We all know the success they have had.
6. Visuals: They clarify
information and enhance the presentation. Whether a flip chart, overheads or
PowerPoint, visuals can add spice on a regular basis. Caution: some presenters
allow their visuals to become the presentation. You are the presentation and
the visual aids are exactly that - a visual aid! Don't over clutter handouts,
or visuals. A good rule to follow is no more than six lines of copy and two
colors - preferably primary colors. Leave at least 40% of your slide empty.
Behavioral scientists have coined a new term - the Rainbow Effect. Too much
visual color and clutter pushes the listener away from the material and into
the beauty (I use the term loosely) of the visual. If you want really good information
on what works and what doesn't work read Olgivy on Advertising by David Olgivy,
the guru of great ads.
7. Notes: Use index cards,
a notebook, key words, visual aids but NEVER memorize your entire presentation.
This is the kiss of death. I know one speaker that does this well but she has
done it for 20 years. She has trained herself that if interrupted, she can start
exactly where she was. NEVER read, unless it is a specific quote or statistical
information. Or unless you want the audience to sleep.
8. Q&A: Set ground rule
in your opening as how questions will be handled. If you have a limited amount
of time, tell the group to hold their questions and you will answer them at
the end of your presentation. Always remember to ask for the questions and answer
them before you close. You want the audience to walk away with your gem, your
nugget, not the answer to the last questions.
9. Rehearse: At least four
times without interruption. That means you will probably have to find a conference
room and get out of your office. Record yourself during your practice session.
Listen for any acronyms that are not explained, words the audience may not understand,
or any parts of the presentation where you sound unsure, and change them. Also,
hear your vocal variety, new ideas, old ideas stated differently and examples
that hit a home run to your point. Do not to make any changes 24 hours prior
to your presentation!!
10. Environmental check:
Be sure that all controllable parts of the environment are set correctly well
before the group enters the room. Temperature, lighting, number of chairs, bulbs
for equipment, microphone check, water, batteries, business cards, outside noise,
phone in room and anything else that may be a distraction to your presentation.
There are many distractions and events that will occur that are out of your
control. Make it easy on yourself and your group. Preplan when you can!
Think of one of these steps
that you can employ more effectively when you speak. Make a note of it or better
yet set a goal the next time you present. Good luck and remember Sparkle when