If you’ve got a presentation coming up this week, here’s how to make it better in just a couple of minutes:
1. Don’t start with PowerPoint – start with a blank sheet of paper (or a digital sheet of paper if you’re one of those young people with a fashionable ‘computer’).
2. Write down your goal for the presentation – why, exactly, are you presenting? What do you want the audience to get from your presentation? Not in general, but from this single presentation? What will they DO differently at the end of your presentation?
3. Become clear on who the audience is – take one minute to write down as many words as you can to describe them – what are their needs, interests, hopes and fears? What are they currently focused on or struggling with? What’s on their mind *right now*?
4. Ask yourself ‘What does *this specific audience* need to hear and see in order for me to achieve my goal?’ and write down your answer.
Doing this helps you to answer the ‘so what?’ question. Why should this audience pay attention to you and your message? What’s in it for them? This gives your presentation focus and energy.
These 4 steps will take you less than 5 minutes, and you’ll have a much clearer idea of what your message is, and why your audience should care about it. If you now need PowerPoint slides to *enhance* that message, you’re now ready to use some and you’ll usually find that you need fewer slides, and they’ll be more focused and precise.
Lastly, you’ll feel more confident and credible because you’ve done the kind of preparation that matters – creating an impactful message which resonates with a specific audience. Audiences somehow *know* when you’ve put in the work and created a message for them, and they’ll respond well to it.
Good luck – is there anything you feel I’ve missed out here for a ‘quick and easy’ way to improve your next presentation?