Preparation is key to being able to deliver a message confidently. In this video, learn how to plan and outline what you are communicating.
- The simplest, fastest and most productive way to prepare presentations, or briefings or meeting notes is to use index cards or cue cards to organize your thoughts. Identify one thought at one time and then capture that single thought on an index card. The beauty of this approach is that it frees you from the need to prepare your content in a flowing, logical manner. We start by defining our purpose of the presentation. Without a clear and defined purpose, your presentation will have direction and focus. To help you pinpoint the purpose, answer the following questions. Is the presentation to inform or persuade? Is the presentation aimed at getting the audience to take action? What do I hope to accomplish with the presentation? When you've identified your precise purpose, write it on an index card labeled purpose, then set the card aside to use as reference. Next, move to the middle to create your main ideas. Main ideas are the three or four principal points you want to communicate to your audience. If your presentation has more than three or four main ideas, you run the risk of leaving people with a fuzzy message. By highlighting three or four main ideas, your presentation has structure and it's easy to follow. So decide your main ideas. Use fresh index cards each labeled main idea. In bullet point form, write each main idea on separate cards by separating each main idea on different index cards, you have flexibility in the order you later give the cards. Now that the focus of your presentation is in place, assemble the details to bring your main ideas to life. Details put the meat on the bones of your main ideas. Use one detail per index card. Write in bullet point form, use as few words as possible per card. Develop your details with, for example, information relevant to the audience, statistics that are rounded off, descriptive word pictures to help people visualize, anecdotes/analogies, visual aids if needed to help the audience understand. After writing each detail on separate index cards, place the detail cards with the main ideas they relate to. So it begins to look like you're playing solitaire. Use as many details as necessary to make your points. Now you're ready to write the introduction. If you don't quickly engage people in a presentation and give people a reason to listen to you, it's going to be difficult capturing their attention from that point on. You must give the audience a reason to listen in the very first sentence. In your opening statements to the audience, if you can, give your audience a stake in the presentation. Tell them the single most important reason why they should listen to you. Open your presentation with energy and enthusiasm and you'll capture the audience's attention. Now it's time to create the conclusion. Interestingly enough, conclusions are often the part of the presentations that people remember best. The conclusion therefore, offers opportunity to stress benefits and wrap up your presentation in a clear, succinct manner. Then, issue a call to action, tell people what you want them to do or need from them as a result of your information. Here's what to do now, put the index cards in order by following this sequence. Start with the introduction card, then go to your first main idea, support that main idea with its details in the appropriate order, then go to your next main idea followed by its details. After sequencing all main ideas and details, end with the conclusion card. Review the first card you wrote, the purpose card, to ensure you've achieved your objective in writing the presentation. Because you have few words on each card, you'll be speaking extemporaneously. That way, your natural style will come through. Now for some people who prefer to use a text when they present, the index card approach offers a concise, coherent, first draft of the presentation. All that's required is to turn the index cards to the pros if that's the preferred method of delivery. Now you know what you want to say to be a confident communicator, you need to say it like you mean it.
- Organizing your thoughts
- Speaking slowly, naturally, and confidently
- Breathing properly
- Using your body to reinforce speech
- Managing facial expressions
- Handling nervousness
- Voice modulation, eye contact, and gestures