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Home Career Tool Uncategorised Prime Your Presentation

Prime Your Presentation

MANY of us spend a substantial amount of time making presentations to senior managers in our own or in client organizations. Sometimes the presentations that we make seem to become the deciding elements of our success.

How many times have we heard of people getting plum positions and responsibilities based on one good presentation to the senior management? It's not that the presentation is what got them the job, but it helps create a perception regarding one's comprehension and insight on the subject in discussion. Also, the quality of the presentation at times determines the extent of support that we get on our key projects or initiatives, etc.

So, how does one go about and make good and effective presentations. Adding a movie or going to a designer is not a foolproof solution, as your presentation should reflect your work and your thoughts and not somebody else's. There are some basic skills and tenets that will ensure that you develop and present the right material in an effective way.

Plan and intent

Determine the reason why you are making the presentation and what you are expecting from the audience (to make a decision or to be informed). The presentation that you prepare for your superiors could be different from the one that you prepare for your colleagues or subordinates.

The purpose of the presentation may be different for these groups, but the goal is the same - effective and persuasive communication. Be sure of the purpose that you are aiming to accomplish. Is it simply delivery of factual data or do you need to garner support for your ideas?

Structure the content

There are many ways of structuring a presentation. Sequential structure where the issue is discussed as a sequence of points; hierarchical treatment where the main topic is broken down into topics, subtopics and further headings; and pyramid that is a related way of breaking down the issue into subheadings till the points get exhausted.

Another structure that one can give one's presentations is the question- oriented structure where one furnishes the answers to the question that could arise while discussing a particular project.

Determine content

Plan how you will tell your story, and organize your information accordingly. Communicate your intent at the outset; let your audience know what you expect to accomplish, or want from them.

Find out if the issue has been addressed before in your organization. Identify the most contentious points and deal with them upfront. Focus content on what your audience would want to know, not what you want to tell them. Frame the issues in terms of decisions to be made, actions to be taken and the resulting benefits to the business.

Keep it focused

Keep slides simple and focused. Maintain a high thought- to- word ratio. Give one key message per slide. Limit the number of supporting points to 3-4 per slide. Have a separate slide that summarises the value and clarifies the action.

Aim for a core presentation of no more than ten slides; prepare a back up binder of facts available as needed.

Understand the audience

Frame your information keeping the audience in mind. How they need to understand vs. your need to explain function, position and geography. Understand what your audience needs to hear; know what they already know so that you do not waste time repeating it.

Determine what criteria they will use to evaluate your recommendation. Have the ability to predict questions, concerns or challenges that your audience could have.

Most importantly, preview the information with the right people in a room so that they are able to murmur acceptance at the right moment. Don't surprise people in a meeting; they will surprise you with the result.

Prepare delivery

Prepare and rehearse. You cannot over-rehearse. Internalize the content so that the audience feels it is coming from the heart and you are not reading it out from the slides. Determine how you will express your own voice or style. Know the order of your slides and transition from one to another as if reading a story.

Deliver

Ensure that your communication is consistent. Prepare yourself to shift your plans to make your point. Know what you will say and what slides to show if your time is shortened. Use slides to facilitate a discussion. Stay focused and on the topic. People will try and get you off on tangents. Be succinct and direct.

Instead of saying, "I've got a slide coming up," answer their question and say, "More will follow in the next couple of slides."

An effective presentation will get you into the eye of the management. In addition to whatever role that you may be performing in the organization, it will project you as an effective communicator. An effective presenter understands not only the subject but the audience and the environment as well. Apply this while preparing for your next presentation.

Home Career Tool Uncategorised Prime Your Presentation