“If I had an hour to solve a problem and my life depended on the solution, I would spend the first 55 minutes determining the proper question to ask, for once I knew the proper question, I could solve the problem in less than five minutes.” – Albert Einstein
Einstein’s principle, though maybe not exactly in this 55-5 ratio, works equally well when it comes to presentation development. When creating a presentation, the very first step is crucial if you’re going to end up on the right track of the story that will take your audience through your rationale to your goal.
1st Step in Creating a Good Presentation:
1 – Assess the Meeting Set-up and Presentation Context
Before getting started, you need to take a look at some important issues that will guide the next steps in developing the script and the visuals. These issues are:
- Set-up of the meeting
- Total time for the meeting and the time allotted for the presentation
- Audience profile – what they know, what they still do not know, what they’re interested in, their objectives, and what they expect from your presentation
- Presenter – how much time you will have to prepare for the presentation
- Objective – what do you want your audience to do, think or feel at the end of the meeting
A presentation is not an end in itself but rather a means to achieving a set goal. So be clear as to what your objective is for a meeting and how you will know if the meeting was successful. It is necessary to be clear, so the talk can be directed toward achieving the goal. When we have a goal clearly in mind, we can also properly allocate the time segments to be devoted to each topic.
We rarely manage to “sell” in the first meeting. Commonly, a successful presentation is a bridge to the next step in a longer process.
In order to prepare for a meeting, keep in mind the following: the place, the time and the tools available. These will define the approach and strategy to be used for the meeting and, by extension, the presentation.
The focus of your presentation about any project, company or idea should be on its benefits to the audience.
For this reason, it’s crucial that you study your audience profile. This will help guide you to the best posture, behavior (conscious and unconscious) and story for that particular group.
People have a tendency to hide the weak points of projects, ideas and companies. This is a big mistake; it shows naiveté. Sharing the weak points and providing ways to address or mitigate them can only increase credibility.
Instead of telling an audience your competitive advantages and what you’re good at, try to tell them how your competitive advantages can help them. This shift in focus can change the script and outcome of your presentations completely.
The time allotted for a presentation is not the same thing as the time allotted for a meeting. Make room for a question-and-answer session, when you can create a “fully customized” presentation. The fact that the answers seem to be “unprepared” only increases a presenter’s credibility.
Once you have defined what is really important to your audience and the direction you want to give to your story, then you are ready to:
2 – Create a Script that leads to a Story focused on the audience and your Objective
3 – Create Visual Images that help you communicate more effectively