Way beyond the PPT
Who have never saw the power of a very well designed slide in a presentation? Yes, it works. But presenting is more than some organized well-designed slides. We’ll talk about the pieces of a good presentation here and we’ll understand what really matters.
What is a presentation made of? It could be just the overrated PPT, but there are important elements for reaching the success. Before starting, let’s talk about one thing: a presentation, always, is more than a PPT (sometimes it’s not even a PPT, sometime it’s just a paper or a draw in a wall).
Setting a goal
Every presentation has a goal. Actually, every presentation sell a idea. It has the mission to offer arguments to help people to get a point of view or a opinion. So, it’s important to make clear the presentation goal and make sure the all the efforts are pushing towards the goal previously defined.
At the presentation end, the goal must to be reached. Ok? So, the presentation goal needs to be achievable. For example: “ordering a research”, “approving the campaign”, “approving the media plan”. Setting a business goal as the presentation goal is a big mistake, like “increasing the stores sells”.
Knowing your audience – What they want to listen?
So, you’re resposible for what each people will undestand from your presentation. The responsability to make sense, or not, is in your hands. That said, it’s better you get to know your audience, the people that will watch your presentation.
If from 0 to 10, your audience know 4 about a issue, you don’t have to start from 0. On another hand, if they know 1 about that issue, it’s a mistake start from 4. It’s important to know how much audience knows to be relevant for them and make it better.
Another point: avoid to feel too much close to your audience. A joke or a polemic image, out of time and context, might starts a crisis and put your results in risk.
Preparing your speech – What I want/need/will say?
70% of people get lost here. What I’ll say is way more important than the slide I’ll make. And what I’ll say is different from what I want and need to say.
At this point, I use to draw a scheme to keep clear: there is what audience need/want to listen e what I need/want to say. Between both groups, there is a space in common, everything that is there is where your presentation can be more relevant. The secret is to keep people’s attention and going on with a very attractive and relevant speech. For reaching your goal, maybe you need something out of this space, but I’m sure the basic elements to conquer your audience is there.
After understanding what is relevant, it’s important to organize your ideas. I use to create a text with everything I believe that is important to say in the whole presentation.
Other ways to organize your ideas are: post-its, mind maps, draw in glass walls, flipcharts, etc. What matters is to make sure about everything you speech must have. Of course, you must cut the borders, because time is precious and we don’t want more than enough time to reach our goal. So, you can define what you’ll say, that’s different from what you need/want to say.
For those who want to know more about presentations, I recommend to read about the Pecha Kucha method.
Making support docs – PPT and others
Instead a lot of people think, you don’t have to present a PPT, a.k.a. support material, in every presentation. There are awesome presentations made by presenters without any slide. On another hand, there are excellent presentations without any presenter. So, it’s more important to know how your presentation will come to the audience. Here, it’s time to build the best support material to your presentation.
Following you speech, the docs will support what are you saying as well. The words that you are saying can be present in the support material, or not. It’s important the support material makes a complement to your speech.
- If it doesn’t need speaking, then your support material must be 100% auto-explained.
- If you do need speak, the more you might speak, the less you should put in your support material.
The more your support material get attention from your speak, the less the potential to persuade your audience. The empathy has power yet, it’s why we watch people talking in TED Telks instead reading their PDFs at SlideShare. If your material is 100% auto-explained with thousands of words that are exactly what you are saying, so why would you present that? It’s easier to send it by e-mail, right?
It brings us a situation. Making a presentation full of resources to speak together or a textless presentation to complement speaking? Actually, we have to use resources in our favor, always. If you are a good presenter, if you can estimulate people interests, if you has empathy and the capacity to keep people paying attention to you, then get the responsability to present it. Be a showman. But, if you can’t even look forward while presenting, then it’s a better idea to share this task with the support material, without being repetitive, of course. There will be a few moments that you’ll be the support for the material, but you will get so much closer to reach your goals.
Presenter preparation – It’s no shame to rehearse
It’s not enough to be skilled in speaching publicly. You have to know exactly what you will say in your speech. The rehearse is a very important part for using that moment strategic and wisely to achieve the presenter goals.
It’s important to present for someone. It’s a way to identify better ways to pass some idea and to find things to get better in the doc and in the speech. Actually, if you’re spending a big time planning this presentation, it’s really possible that, somehow, this presentation became the same thing and now you need a brand new look from someone new to help you to bring improvements and to help you understand how the audience is receiving that information.
About the enviroment
Beautiful speech, epic material, hard rehearse, all ready. But then, the device don’t have HDMI port. Or yet, the place has so much light and your support material has a dark background with thin letters. And you look that, give a smile e think “let’s go no matter what”.
There are a lot of cases you can anticipate the place’s conditions for presenting. When you can anticipate these adversities, it’s very important to solve them in order to deliver the more interesting and more relevant presentation to your audience.
Unpredictables – They don’t need to happen, but they happen
You can plan everything. But an unpredictable always will happen somehow. It can be the boss being late in a hour and the boss also need to leave earlier, making your 1-hour presentation to be presented in a half hour. It can be a spoiled projector or all the meeting rooms busy. Or you might have to present sitting, even rehearsing a lot of times on your feet. To know how to interact with the unpredictables is very important, also to keep calm and find the better solution at the moment.
But if you did everything right before, if you planned your presentation following the points, you minimized the unpredictables and now you can just find one or another unpredictable, maybe none. You’re prepared, confident and sure that it’s the way you believe. The next minutes will be crucial and the mix between expecting the results and being sure for making a good job will help you, always.
After presentation – It’s not just “that’s it”
You had a lot of job to make each part of this whole presentation, so don’t come with “that’s it”. Look a way to finish your presentation thanking for people’s attention, with words that show how good is that job. It can seem unimportant, but you won’t leave the sensation that your work it’s not important, you came to reach a goal that could be an signature, or approvement or a appointment with a higher level.
In the end
Presenting needs confidence. Even if what you need to say is hard or complicated, the presentation helps to clarify, to explain, to show, to inform, to convince. So plan it, prepare yourself and go there to get it.