“The best way to sound like you know what you’re talking about is to know what you’re talking about” – Author Unknown
Some people are show-people. They love to get up in front a group and give a presentation. It’s easy for them, you can see that they enjoy it. They inspire, give us ideas, and present themselves as knowledgeable and informed about the subject.
Then there are the rest of us. Public speaking for many is a tortuous experience filled with fears, sweating hands and knocking knees. It’s easy for those with fear of presentations to sit down with PowerPoint and fill slide after slide with graphs, charts, numbers and text, which will then be read slide-by-slide in a monotonous drone. Sound familiar?
The fear of speaking in public may never go away. But you can create, design and execute a much better, more interesting and more professional presentation if you ask yourself the following questions before you begin the process of creating your presentation.
Questions you should ask before starting work on the presentation
- Do I understand the subject, am I an expert? If you are not, why are you giving the presentation?
- Am I excited about the subject and passing this excitement and understanding on to others? Without your enthusiasm it will be a boring disaster.
- Who will be in the audience? Who are you speaking too, what level of education and what “rung” of the corporate ladder? Are they competitors, industry experts, clients or co-workers?
- What is the audience’s level of knowledge and understanding of the topic? Do you need to give them an introduction to the subject, or can you jump right in?
- What information is relevant and important for my audience? Are they interested in details, or only in your summaries and conclusions?
- Where will I be when I give the presentation? A huge auditorium or a classroom with 10 people? The boardroom or the company picnic?
- How can I present the material so that is reflects my expertise, and at the same time educates or inspires the audience?
What are the goals of the presentation
- Am I presenting facts so that the audience can analyze them and come to their own conclusions?
- Am I analyzing and presenting my interpretation of factual information?
- Am I teaching concepts that should be learned by the audience?
- Am I motivating and inspiring the audience with ideas?
- Why are these people coming to see me?
Creating the Presentation
- Do I have the technical skills required to put this presentation together?
- Who can I go to for help and assistance to make it look and feel professional?
- Do I have a budget?
- What would I present if I only had 60 seconds to do it? What information is absolutely necessary?
“The audience only pays attention as long as you know where you are going.”
– Philip Crosby