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Less is more. I'm sure you've heard this term referring to focus and efficiency of information. It's what you should aim for with your presentation, but this process of thoughtful minimalism is a result of a few strategic steps. Let's review them. Brainstorm quietly. Find an uninterrupted time in your day and make a list of all the possible pieces of information you think your audience will want to know. Don't overthink your items. Don't criticize your choices.
Make a long list of all the possibilities. Define clarifying questions. The list of possible topics your audience might be interested in will naturally get shorter when you ask your contact, the person that asked you to present for clarification. Use this information gathering to shorten your list and narrow your scope. If you don't have the luxury of going back to the contact, ask a colleague who is familiar with this audience. Look for themes and outliers.
Are there topics that fit the same theme on your list? Topics that naturally cluster together? Categories that you're 100% sure meet the scope of your presentation topic? Start grouping these items and also look for definite outliers, items that fall outside of the scope of your presentation topic but they helped you get into the mindset of the initial brainstorm. Go back to the research board. A shorter list of themed items should inspire you to do additional research on your topic.
Look for recent articles, relevant statistics, stories in your industry relating to your topic or specific examples of industry success. Narrow your scope. The clarifying questions, rising themes and additional research should help you narrow the focus of your topic. Your initial brainstorm list should be thinned down to a few items that connect clearly to your initial charge and have additional information to support them. Let's watch Katie as she goes through the first step of her presentation design.
First, she brainstormed all the possible topics relating to doing business in Brazil. What does the audience think about when they hear about Brazil? Carnival, soccer, the Amazon, business culture, geographic location, style of communication, negotiations, U.S. companies with successful operations there, business relationships, the energy sector in Brazil.
On her list may be views of Americans by Brazilians, cultural differences, language differences. What do experts say about Brazil? What's the country's GDP, Gross Domestic Product? Then Katie went back to the Chief Operating Officer and asked a few clarifying questions. Is anyone else in the company briefing the executive team on the energy sector in Brazil? Have any of them ever been there before? Do they plan to send anyone from Kinetico there first? Does Kinetico have any contacts in Brazil? Based on what Katie found out, she was able to scratch some of the items off the initial brainstorm list.
She's going to focus on others that she needed to do additional research on and leave some out that she might address in the Q & A section. Just like Katie is starting to see the few important topics to cover in her presentation, I hope that you go through the steps I mentioned to get to a narrower scope. Spend your attention on a few crucial points to help your audience grasp the overall message. As you can see, the popular "less is more" theory takes a few steps to accomplish.
I hope you're on your way.
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