Whether writing a presentation for a sales pitch, a keynote, or to deliver to your leadership team it can be difficult to get started. If you want your presentation to be GREAT rather than GOOD, it’s important to get the content and structure right first before mastering your delivery. I believe there are four key pillars you need to consider when building any presentation and they are the Why, Who, What and How.
I hate to sound generic, but yes Simon Sinek was right when he said, ‘we need to start with Why’. What is the why behind your presentation? What is your purpose for delivering it? it to persuade, to sell, to compel, to entertain (always a good ingredient to add on top whether this is your why or not), to convert, to position? Whatever your reason, you must know it, and you must ensure that your presentation speaks to it. This is an important pillar to check in with as you work through your other pillars. Keep coming back to your Why and make sure you stay on point.
Once you know the why behind your presentation you need to think about the most important person in your presentation (and it is not you), your audience. Who are you presenting to? If you know your audience, that’s great. You should be able to think about what will resonate with them the most. What interests them, why should they care about what you are about to say? If you don’t know your audience then you have some researching to do. Just like a marketer needs to gain market and customer insights, you need to gain insights on your audience. It won’t matter what you say or how well you say it, if it doesn’t resonate with the people you are talking too. The same key messages can be tweaked to suit different audiences, as just like in selling, it’s not the features that customers are interested in, it’s the benefits. You need to shape your presentation to ensure your audience are hearing their benefits.
Okay, you now know why you’re delivering this presentation and you know who you are speaking to, now you need to come up with your content – the what. What are you going to say? I find the best way to get my/and or my client’s content out is via a post it note brainstorm. What is this? It is simply allowing yourself to put any ideas on a wall using post it notes. You should only use one word per post it and just throw everything out there. When you can’t think of anything else start grouping your post it’s together in groups that relate to the one message, (this is how you will discover your key points). This is also where you can discard content that is not speaking to your Why or to your Who (audience).
The final step, and what the creatives of the world would call the fun part. You can now think about how you would like to deliver your message. Does it need any tools to enhance your messages, to support driving your messages home?
When I talk about tools, I’m talking about a slide deck such as power point or key note, whiteboards, flip charts, props, video footage, activities, audience interaction, or none of the above. Tools should only be used if they support you. You are the lead actor and your tools are the supporting cast.
Give this a try when you’re creating your next presentation, and as I tell all of my clients, ‘Practise out a loud or you will scare yourself with your own voice’.
Director and Executive Speaking Coach
162 Collins Street, Melbourne VIC, 3000