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In this weekly series, Todd Dewett, PhD, shares the tips respected and motivated managers use to improve rapport, navigate tricky situations, build better relationships, and drive the business forward. Each week, we'll release two tips ranging from avoiding the dreaded micromanagement to managing a multigenerational workforce, cultivating better listening skills, and developing an understanding of your organization's politics. Check back every Wednesday for more Management Tips.
- Have you ever been given a presentation, and while you're speaking you realize it's just not going well? That's a really bad feeling. It doesn't have to be that way if you know how to approach your task. When you're given a presentation, and there are many variables to consider, including the location and physical setup, technical considerations with the audio and visual equipment, and how well you actually deliver the information you with to share. However, none of that matters if the information you're sharing isn't viewed as interesting and useful.
So, let's talk a bit about the faces of a typical professional presentation just to be sure you get each part right. I'll start by reminding you that every good presentation has a clear beginning, middle, and end. That's true of a good movie, book, or story and it's true of any good presentation. Let's start with the beginning. Don't make the mistake of starting with an overview or a gender for the presentation. That might be useful, but you want to start with a hook. Some simple device that an emotionally canvased why your presentation is important.
Think of a static, a video clip, or a picture that can speak volumes about your main point. Maybe, it's a picture of the families your company servers, or a person whose life was improved by one of your services. Whenever possible find the emotional hook that helps set the stage before bringing out the facts you wish to share. Now, think about the big middle of the presentation. Listen carefully, your goal is to share the minimum the audience really needs to know. Not the maximum you want to show them that you actually know.
Always remember, that less is more. Focus only on the most predictable questions they'll want answered, not minutia that's merely interesting to you or a few others. Ideally, you'll be prepared to discuss much more than you put on your slides. The slides should be stream lined and focused on the main points. While you're doing this, just present using a medium to large main stream black font with no animations or other fancy digital tricks.
Most of the time, those are just distracting. Speaking of focus, don't use long complete sentences. Instead, improve their comprehension by using three to four bullets fragments on each slide, much more, and you'll loose most professional audiences. Now, the end of a presentation has three specific goals. First, a repeat of the emotional hook you used at the beginning or a new one that makes the same point. Next is a quick and clear summary of the top three or four main points.
Finally, when appropriate a call to action. That's you articulating to the audience, the one or two things you really expect of them or would like them to consider. I want you to never again have the feeling of delivering a bad presentation. So, remember that presentations represent a unique time to significantly increase or decrease your standing in the eyes of others. Do yourself a favor, and remember these tips so that your presentations will not only be informative, they'll have impact.
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