Most of the time when we are asked to give a presentation, we spend a lot of time working on WHAT we want to say. Unfortunately we really should be spending more time on HOW we say it. In order to do a better job of this, it would probably be a good idea if we took a step back and spent just a moment or two thinking about what we’d like to accomplish by making this presentation.
If your goal is to get it over with, well then congrats — you will probably be successful in some fashion. However, if as long as you are going to the effort to prepare and present the info, you’d like to actually make an impact, shall we say change the world, then it would seem as though you should have some higher goals.
In his book Clear and to the Point, Stephen Kosslyn proposes that we have three goals in mind for every presentation:
- Connect With Your Audience: If they can’t pick out how your presentation relates to them or their lives, then they just won’t care what you are talking about.
- Direct and Hold Their Attention: You need to tell a story that is so compelling that they are hanging on your every word, waiting for your next revelation.
- Promote Understanding & Memory: How you present your information should be easy to understand and done in such a way that when you are done and the slides are put away, your audience can still remember what you said and why it all made sense.
Whew! That doesn’t seem so hard now does it? Well, it actually is quite difficult to do well. Next time we’ll spend some time talking about simple ways to start to improve your presentations so that you easily accomplish all three of these goals.