We are all familiar with setting goals; about knowing where we want to go and working out how to get there. People, we are told repeatedly, who fail to plan are simply planning to fail.
Well, the same thing goes with our presentations. It is surprising how many people who give work related presentations are not aware of what that presentation is required to do. How can we achieve the aim if we have no idea what the outcome should be.
Business presentations should be all about achieving the goals of the organisataion, so the question we should always be mindful of is “what it this presentation designed to do?”and then we should make sure that we work to achieve that.
When we cover this at our workshops we liken the organisation required to achieve our goals, to taking a raliway journey. When planninng our train journey we must first decide our destination – only then can we choose the route. or what train to book. We also need to know the time we have been allowed to complete our journey in; do we have the luxury of sightseeing on the way? Or do we have to take the direct route. What stops will we make along the way – we need to plan carefully to ensure that each stop is on our route and is moving us towards our utlimate destination.
The same considerations apply when we are planning that presentation – what is the destination, what route shall we take, what stops along the way shall we plan and how long have we got.
The destination is the focus of the presentation; what it is meant to achieve – is it to sell a product; do we want to present a convincing case for our ideas; or are we giving an important informative presentation?
Our route is the organisation of the information to ensure that we reach that destination. Remembering that the human brain can only comprehend three important facts in a short space of time, we need to decide what are the most important pieces of information that will lead our listeners on to the goal.
These are are our stations along the route, which tell us we are on the right track.
If we plan carefully we will reach our destination in plenty of time to get off the train and admire the view.
In my experience there are very few presenters in business who really know what they are trying to achieve. They stand up and run through the PowerPoint presentation, answer a few questions, pack up and depart – never giving a thought to whether the outcome was what was required. Mostly their focus will be on if they performed adequately.
I suggest that if you deliver presentations as part or your job, that you give some careful thought to what the preferred outcome actually is. If you can’t work it out, ask someone; and if they don’t know – what are you doing giving the presentation at all.
Planning gives you a much better chance of getting there – but you have to know where ‘there’ is first.
Michel @ Trischel