I’m sure you’ve been to many presentations/meetings where you get to the end and think you’ve wasted an hour or more of your life. If it’s been a whole morning, it can be even more exasperating. Your time is valuable. Work must be done or you’re running late. But you’ve just wasted 10% of your working week.
So, when it’s your turn, you get the nod saying ‘please present X to 2-20 people,’ how do you react? In most cases you realise that it’s quite a responsibility. Others freak at the thought and have sleepless nights and palpitations.
However, it is fair to say, that when you get it right, it can do your career a lot of good. That’s what ‘Cracking Presentations’ does for you. It makes you good at this art.
I cannot condense a whole day’s course material into a few hundred words so for now, let’s just look at the first stage – Preparation.
For a start, 80% of the success of a presentation hinges on your preparation. Sadly, many go off on their pet subject like an avid train spotter, but this is all about confidently showing others a smart piece of work so that they understand and agree with your proposition.
I often hear people saying, ‘But, I’m not a sales person!’ Well, you are now! Presentations are meant to sell a concept or viewpoint. You want everyone on the room to agree with you or argue a point. Then the essential points that should be implemented. It may be only to bring people up to speed. Whatever else happens, they cannot leave the room confused, doubting you or your material.
So, with preparation of your material – decide on the end goal first. What should your audience walk away with?
There will always be cynics (‘I don’t really need to be here/ I’m too busy.’ ‘Let’s get this over with.’) That is why you have to overcome any objections or reticence, so bring people onside.
You only get one chance to make a first impression, so decide on what that should be. Hook people from the introductory 30 seconds and you’ve got a chance!
Seth Godin in his clever book, Tribes says:
People don’t believe what you tell them.
They rarely believe what you show them.
They often believe what their friends tell them,
but they always believe what they tell themselves.
What leaders do is tell stories they can tell themselves,
stories about the future and about change.
Seth Godin, Tribes
Your presentation should change people, their opinions, so enlighten and inform.
Look out for future blog on the subject. This material will change you.
“Cracking Presentations” through Think Twice Marketing is a whole-day classroom-based course. It will equip you and your team to make presentations effective and your time efficient.
The opinions in these blog posts are those of marketing professional and book author Darren Hignett.