What’s the Real Value of a Presentation?


The Real Value of a Presentation

At some point, all of us managers, directors and heads of departments have had to create and deliver presentations for our companies. So we’ve probably spent hundreds of hours thinking about presentations, creating the PowerPoints and preparing for the delivery.


But have you considered the real value of a presentation? Have you thought about the ROI of the presentation you make? Does such a thing exist?


At SOAP, we believe that presentations do have a real value, and we’d like to show you here why we believe this.


No, we’re not going to give you a mathematical formula. After reading this article, you won’t magically be able to calculate the ROI of the presentations you’ve made, but you will be able to understand how presentations create value. We think that understanding this will help you to create valuable presentations.


We recently came across this simple but revealing video:



Here, Elling Hamso, a Meeting Management Consultant at the Norwegian Event ROI Institute, talks about the ROI Methodology for Meetings and Events. He tells us, “There is only one mechanism for any meeting to create value. Participants have to do something.”


And so we thought, but aren’t meetings and events types of presentations? Well, yes, they are. And that’s why we think Elling Hamso’s methodology will work for any kind of presentation.


The main point of his methodology is this: Your audience has to do something as a result of attending your presentation. If they do nothing, then the presentation was of no value.


If this is the case, then changing an audience member’s behavior is the only way for presentations to create real value. Remember, your only goal is to change behavior, to make somebody do something you want done. Making somebody think or feel something just isn’t enough.


So when you’re creating your presentation script, and when you’re creating the slides, and when you’re thinking about the story you’ll be telling your audience, you have to make sure all the elements you call into play will support a change in audience behavior.


Where to start? The first thing you should do before planning a new presentation is to decide on the desired impact. For example: Do you want to sell a product? Then you need to set specific objectives. What does your audience need to do in the end to generate those sales? Do they need to go on-line and buy the item or service? Is it available only in certain stores? Try to be specific here – the more specific you are when you think about your objective, the easier it will be to measure the impact of what you do.


According to Hamso, you need to be aware of four types of objectives:


1. Satisfaction

  • Was you audience happy with the hospitality, with the overall environment, with the room conditions? And were they satisfied with the content of your presentation? Did they experience what they came for?


2 – Learning

  • There are four types of learning:


    1. Information Learning: Did you teach your audience what they needed to know about your product? As Hamso says, “There is a bit of information learning at just about every meeting or event.”
    2. Skills Learning: Did you teach your audience how to use your product? Will they know how to use it?
    3. Attitude Learning: This has to do with teaching values and attitudes. Not all presentations need to deal with this type of learning.
    4. Relationship Learning: Here we’re talking about coming to know other people, learning to build trust with others. Even if you’re not teaching your audience to create relationships, because you’re presenting a product (as we mention in our example), you need to establish a good relationship with your audience. They need to trust in you and in what you’re saying. There are several techniques to help you create rapport with an audience; we mention some of these in this article.

3 – Application

  • But, as we’ve said, your audience has to do something. In this example, they have to buy your product if the presentation is to be of value. That’s what Hamso says. “Learning has no value unless it’s applied, so the 3rd level of objectives and measurement is called application.” Application is what your audience members do as a result of attending your presentation. Do they buy the product? Or do they simply search online for more information?


4 – Impact

  • Finally we arrive at the final step, the final objective. The impact is the result of what your audience does. How many more products than usual were sold after the presentation was made? This is the real value of a presentation to all stakeholders.


A lot of presentations aren’t meant to sell something. Some are meant to fund-raise. Some are meant to raise awareness about a certain problem. Others can be simply to schedule a next meeting.


But in the end you’ll be always “selling” something, even if it’s just an idea or a change in behavior. And to do this you’ll always have to have a specific goal in mind and a desired impact. So, in your future presentations, don’t forget to keep in mind the four types of objectives. Thinking about these can help you to create a state-of-the-art presentation that will create real value for you and for your company.