Every single day, millions of presentations are created to transfer knowledge from one person or group to another person or group. Many of the people creating these presentations are busy. They are so busy that they jump in to building the presentation without having a plan for building a good presentation. The result is often a disjointed, disarticulated, disastrous, disappointing, dismal collection of data that puts the presenter at a disadvantage and puts the audience into a state of displeasure. I am sure you have seen such a presentation.
The internet offers several great resources like Tom Peters who will give you tips on speaking and how to inspire and Jerry Weissman who has some great ideas on putting together a great story. But one thing that is not as easy to find and is critical in preventing poor presentations is to have a plan, a process, a system, a method to follow that will insure that the presentation created will be a success and not a sleeping pill. This post is the first of 6 that will describe a 6 Step plan to creating a successful presentation.
Step 1 - Set the Objective
The objective of the presentation is the action you want the audience to take after seeing and hearing your presentation. It is the point, the raison d'être. Your presentation is a roadmap that takes the audience from Point A to Point B. If there is no Point B then the presentation never arrives and the audience either falls asleep or asks, "Are we there yet?" neither of which is a good sign. You may want them to register for an event, call a broker for more information on an annuity, pass a quiz to earn a certification, or buy more widgets. The key is that you have one and you know what it is and everyone agrees that the objective is the objective. When everyone (that matters) agrees, you can officially say the objective is SET and you can begin to build the presentation. If everyone (that matters) does not agree, then don't build the presentation until they do. Part of this process has to be to agree upon how success will be measured. Is it in 10% more widgets sold? Is it that 75% of sales achieve passing test scores? Is it an 8% increase leads generated? Whatever it is, make sure you have answered 3 critical questions. 1. Is it specific enough to be of value? 1. Is it reasonable enough to achieve? 2. Do we have the tracking mechanism in place to measure this?
So why is it important to set the Objective in Step 1? The objective is the glue that connects every slide in the presentation. From the welcome slide through the body slides to the call to action slide, the objective is the guiding force. Every bullet, every phrase, every image and every utterance should be driving the audience toward the objective. At every step in the presentation creation process ask yourself one question; "Does this (image, phrase, recording, attachment, slide title, bullet, graphic) lead the audience toward taken the desired action (the objective of the presentation)? If the answer is a confident "Yes" then it becomes part of the presentation; if the answer is "No", or even "Maybe" then follow the old adage; When in Doubt, Leave it Out. It is a tragedy to build a presentation that distracts the viewer from its primary objective. So, Set the Objective and at the end you will be able to Measure Your Success.