Getting your presentation content right can be daunting

A great presentation or speech consists of three parts: Content, Structure and Delivery

Skimp on any one of these areas and your chances of creating a real impact are significantly diminished.

In this post I want to focus in on content and look at two things that will help you ensure that you choose the right messages, data and examples to create a convincing presentation.   You need to start by asking yourself two simple but essential questions. Who is my audience and what is my outcome?

Presentation content – Who is your audience?

Failing to consider your audience is like sending a birthday card to your wife and addressing  it  “To the householder”

Who are they?  What is their attitude to your topic?  What is their communication style?  What do they already know about this topic?  What are their hopes and fears?

The more you design your presentation for them, the more chance you have of achieving your outcome.

Presentation content – What is your outcome?

The vast majority of presentations struggle because the presenter has not identified a clear outcome which is based on a desired audience action.   What do you want your audience to DO as a result of your presentation?

I asked this question of some senior company directors and they looked puzzled.  The question didn’t compute at first?   “What do you mean?” They asked.   it seemed like a simple enough question to me but I explained that I wanted to know what actions or behaviours they wanted their audience to take at the end or, or after the presentation.   Again I got blank looks.

Then I gave them some examples:   Did they want their audience to:

  • Approve a proposed course of action
  • Think differently about a particular subject
  • Share the content of their presentation with their teams
  • Buy their product or service

I finished by suggesting that, if they didn’t want something to happen as a result of their presentation, why were they giving it in the first place!

Finally the penny dropped and they started to get excited.   Clearly they had never consciously thought of their presentations in this way before.    This simple question was “a game changer

Imagine the difference in your presentations if you could clearly articulate the answer to the question “What do you want your audience to do as a result of your presentation”.

Think how much more focussed you will be and how much easier it will be to choose your presentation content when you are clear about what the end result is that you want!

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