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Several times a year, I deliver a workshop called Preparing Powerful Content for Presentations. It’s a two-day workshop where we look at strategies, techniques and insights on how to create a killer presentation. Essentially, the workshop is all about what you can do from the point you are first asked to give a presentation, to when the slides are finished.
In the workshop, pushback inevitably comes when participants are asked to take a step back and rethink the concept and create a storyline for their presentation based on what they’ve learned. I get responses like ‘I can’t change it. I’ve already delivered the presentation’ or ‘But I’m just preparing the presentation, I’m not delivering it.’
These responses will NOT help to create positive change in your organization.
Trying new concepts to create ‘more’
And so I encourage my participants to start from scratch. Yes, restart the whole thing. Are they happy to do that? Maybe 30% are ready and excited to jump in and start all over again.
But let me tell you, after we finish, 100% of the participants are glad they did!
Something magical happens when you turn off and tune out old ideas, preconceived notions, and perceived limitations. And it’s a joy to see the final result.
Some of the key learning points from my Preparing Powerful Content for Presentations workshop are:
Know the goal
Know exactly what action you want the audience to take when they leave your presentation. Because if you don’t know, they won’t know either. There should always be an action, so push yourself to identify it. I guarantee there is more to your presentation than just ‘informing’. (Can’t figure it out? Get in touch and I’ll help you.)
Create a gap
Create a gap, a pain, an opportunity, between the current situation and the future that could be, if only they take the action you are proposing. Because there IS a gap, there IS a pain point, there IS an opportunity. Otherwise what you want to tell them is of little value.
Show multi-level benefits
Include the benefits of doing something and the risks of not doing something. At each of these levels: society and the environment (possibly), the organization, the department, the individual making the decision. Make sure to address each of those in your presentation content and strategy if you’ve assessed that it’s relevant for your audience.
The old adage goes, ‘People buy from people they know, like and trust.’ I take it a step further: People buy from, support, champion, recommend, refer, help and promote people they know, like and trust. Add anecdotes from your experience, empathize because you used to do their job, or show in some other way that you know what it’s like to be in their position.
Inspire your audience with what is possible to be/do/have in the future. Many people are just fine with the way things are, thank you very much. So asking people to take on change can be tough. But if you believe in the change, in yourself, and in their ability to be successful with the change, you can lead them to a better position: in work and very possibly, in life.
Here’s what you can create:
- A presentation with an active, compelling concept
- A clear understanding of who the audience is and what they need from the speaker
- An engaging storyline that keeps the audience’s attention and takes them on a journey
- A slide deck that with key messages and supportive images that resonate
- A clear and explicit action that the audience should take
Create more – for your audience and for yourself. Let us know how these strategies work for you.
Wishing you every success as you prepare powerful content for your presentations!
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