I’m sure that we’d all like to live the life of a rock star. To be on stage in front of thousands of adoring fans who are using their listening skills to hang on to our every word is everyone’s dream. However, the harsh reality of life is that for most of us the majority of “stage time” that we’re going to get will occur in a business setting. What can we do to make those presentations as powerful as possible?
It’s All About The Conclusion
In a business meeting your audience has come to hear you speak not because they want to be entertained or be wowed by your presentation tips, but rather because they want to learn from you. More often than not you’ve done some research or you’ve been involved in a project that they want to have more information on.
We all know about the importance of public speaking. What this means for you is that you’ve got to present to your audience the information that they want right off the bat. The last thing that you want to do is to make them have to sit through your entire presentation in order to get their hands on the piece of information that they came for.
That being said, why bother with the rest of your presentation after you’ve shared your conclusion with them? That’s pretty simple – they may not believe you! You reached your conclusion based on information that you gathered. Just presenting your conclusion is not enough for your audience. Instead, you now need to show them how you reached your conclusion.
Since they already know where you are going to end up because you’ve shared your conclusion with them, they are better able to follow the rest of your presentation. No, they may not all agree with your reasoning and they may not agree with your conclusion, but at least they’ll be able to follow along and understand how you reached it.
This is how discussions start. If your presentation can clearly communicate your conclusions and either get your audience to accept your conclusions or at least get them to start to discuss them, then you will have done your job as a speaker.
What Are Your Recommendations?
Just reaching a conclusion based on information that you’ve gathered is not enough. Remember that you are presenting in a business environment and a business is always looking for ways to move forward.
Your recommendations will be based on your conclusions. This means that your recommendations are going to be a key part of your presentation. I’m going to recommend that you hold off on presenting your recommendations until the end of your presentation.
Your goal here is going to be to open your speech with your conclusions, follow this up with an explanation of how you reached your conclusions, and then wrap things up with a presentation of your recommendations.
By making your recommendations be the last thing that you present, you’ll set the stage for the discussion that will occur after your speech is over. Your recommendations will be the last thing that was in your audience’s minds and they’ll either be able to accept them, or at the very least start a discussion about them.
What All Of This Means For You
A business presentation is the type of speech that most of us will find ourselves doing the majority of the time. Our audience will be showing up to learn what we know and we need to make sure that we present our information in a way that they get what they came for. This is one of the benefits of public speaking – we really can reach an entire group of people all at once.
The conclusions that you’ve reached based on the information that you’ve gathered or the project that you’ve been part of is what your audience wants to know right off the bat. After that you can share with them how you went about reaching your conclusions. Wrap things up by presenting your recommendations. This is the last thing that you want to leave them with.
I suspect that you’ve had to sit through a number of business presentations that were quite horrible. Don’t let this be your fate. Instead, give your audience what they came for right off the bat and then tell them what you want them to do. They may not agree with you, but at least they’ll remember what you said!
Question For You: How many recommendations do you think you can have if you want your audience to remember them all?
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Note: What we talked about are advanced speaking skills. If you are just starting out I highly recommend joining Toastmasters in order to get the benefits of public speaking. Look for a Toastmasters club to join in your home town by visiting the web site www.Toastmasters.org. Toastmasters is dedicated to helping their members to understand the importance of public speaking by developing listening skills and getting presentation tips. Toastmasters is how I got started speaking and it can help you also!
What We’ll Be Talking About Next Time
When we are presented with the opportunity to give a speech to a business audience, a lot of different things start to run through our heads. Unfortunately, not all of these thoughts are ones that will help us to create a good speech. I’ve got 3 questions that you need to ask yourself when you start to prepare your next presentation…