A Gift for the Holidays

A Gift for the Holidays
December 22, 2008

It is the time of year when giving is the thing to do. Not that giving is inappropriate at other times but there is a little more focus on it in late December. So I have something for you. It is a presentation checklist that first appeared in the book by Henry M. Boettinger titled, Moving Mountains or The Art of Lettings Others See Things Your Way  It has 20 points for you to consider when developing your presentation and although it was written in 1969 (long before PPT was the ubiquitous tool it is today), it applies to presenting in front of a live audience as well as creating an on-demand presentation for a distributed on-demand audience.
  I hope you enjoy the list, I hope it causes you to think, I hope it helps you produce better content and I hope that you and yours have a Sharktastic Holiday!

A. Preflight Check for a Presentation

1. Problem-Statement

  • What are the two clashing images?

  • What exists?

  • What do you want to exist?

  • Which of the various forms of statement is best:

    • Historical Narrative

    • Blowing the Whistle

    • Crisis

    • Adventure

    • Disappointment

    • Response to an order

    • Opportunity

    • Revolution

    • Crossroads

    • Evolution

    • Challenge

    • The Great Dream Confession

2. Opening Sentence - Will it excite the interest of the audience?

3. What is the "plan" of development?

  • Thesis, Antithesis, Synthesis, etc.

4. Do you have examples or anecdotes?

5. What devices do you have to get and hold attention?

  • Is there a balance between Reason, Emotion, and Common Sense?

  • Can you use assertion, refutation, doubt, and affirmation?

6. Style

  • Have you made it as brief as possible?

    • Is it oversimplified?

    • Is it overembellished?

    • Are there any tortured passages?

    • Are there any embarrassing ones?

  • Is every point clearly expressed?

  • What alternations in mood exist?

  • Is there a mixture of the lofty and commonplace?

  • Can you use suspense or mystery?

  • Do you need a recapitulation?

  • If a multiple presentation, is a leader appointed?

7. Is the tone one of equality, dominance, or submissiveness?

  • Do you really believe in the idea itself?

8. Is the group small or large?

  • If large, do you have some humor to "break the ice"?

9. What prejudices, fears, or constraints can you expect from this audience?

10. Have you checked the room for distractions? Have you neutralized them?

11. Is the room layout one that encourages discussion?

12. Are visual aids appropriate?

  • Does each one carry a statement of its significance?

  • Are the best graphical methods used for statistics?

    • If technical, have they been checked for competence by experts?

  • Is their size correct?

  • Are they related to one another so that someone could extract your message from the set of visuals alone?

13. Have you identified the weak points?

14. What cross-examination questions would you ask if you were in the audience?

  • Do you have an answer for each one?

  • If challenged on your competence, can you reply appropriately?

  • Have you identified those in your audience who may oppose, and who are neutral?

15. Do you state clearly: (1) What you want the audience to do when you are finished? (2) What you wish them to believe?

  • Does every point made lead to your ending statement in some way?

  • Does the audience need to make great leaps to get to you conclusion?

16. Does the presentation use any special vocabularies unfamiliar to your audience?

  • Have these been translated into terms intelligible to them?

17. Are unfamiliar techniques employed?

  • Have these been explained?

  • Have you established why these are used instead of more familiar methods?

18. Have you considered alternative methods of presenting technical points?

19. If the presentation is a "project" type, have you touched the five areas common to all programs?

  • Personnel

  • Intelligence

  • Operations

  • Supply

  • External Relations

20. Have you exposed the ideas involved to the original, inquiring, and skeptical minds among your acquaintances?