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Leading Groups & Making Presentations, Part 2

March 18, 2015

SDS presentation-creationMaking a Great Presentation

Follow this five step approach to making great presentations.

  • Impress

Impress your audience through your appearance, charm, wit, talent, knowledge, understanding, and use of visual tools, speaking ability or passion. Better yet, try a combination of all these items.  When you create the right image, and make a favorable first impression, you gain some instant credibility with your audience.

  •  Involve

Involving your audience early and often gets them engaged in the presentation.  You can ask them to raise their hands in response to a no-miss question.  Or, make sure you have a good joke that’s well tested to get them laughing.  You can give them handout materials so they move their bodies in the act of receiving.  Remember, the mind follows the body and the body follows the mind.  When you open the audience’s mind or body language in a favorable manner they will continue to view you in favorable light.  If they shut down or reject you early in the presentation, it can make for a long meeting!

  •  Inform

Construct a solid outline and fill it out with relevant, factual information.  For short presentations your outline may cover three relevant points. For a longer presentation you may cover five to seven key points. For a full or multiple day training program there may be many points to cover.  These points can typically be supported by facts, figures, statistics, etc.              

  •  Influence

Speakers who have the ability to influence others usually do so by using stories, analogies, examples, humor or pictures that either resonate with people’s opinions, help formulate their opinions, or sway their opinions.   There’s nothing like an inspirational story, or an example of someone who has overcome adversity, to move an audience to aim higher or take action.

  •  Invite

What action are you inviting your audience to take? Get in shape? Cut taxes? Vote for someone? Approve a project? Try a new technique? The list is endless. Don’t forget to ask them to take action. This could mean having them take a poll, fill out a form, sign up to volunteer or make a purchase.  The invitation is an opportunity for you to get a firm commitment from others before they leave the meeting and become distracted by others things. If you need to get agreement or commitment, make sure you are firm in taking this step before closure.

In comparison to a physical building, your outline is the foundation for your presentation; your factual points are the structure; your stories, analogies and examples give your presentation an aesthetic or emotional appeal. Develop your presentations as if they were a unique building, with a strong foundation, solid structure and appealing aesthetics.

June 2018 Update:  My work has focused more on delivery than design, although I mention a few items in this blog.  Recently I finished Tim Pollard’s book, The Compelling Communicator.   I’ve not read a better book on presentation design and recommend it highly.  I’m also using his online “briefcase” to better design and to store my presentations.  Even after thousands of presentations over several decades I’m looking for ways to improve.

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