This article is dedicated to helping you make effective presentations, both written and spoken.
The first job of any presentation is to get attention from the audience. Attention getters may be visual, such as a picture or chart, verbal, such as a startling fact or interesting anecdote, or three-dimensional. Be as dramatic as your presentation dictates, but whatever you use, put it right out there; don’t diminish it by hemming and hawing.
Now give your listeners a reason to hang in there. In one sentence, tell what benefit will be derived from your presentation. Use a lead-in such as:
- Let me show you how easily you can create a -
- Success is guaranteed if you follow some simple steps -
- Money takes a backseat for three good reasons -
Follow this lead sentence with a brief preview of the points you will present.
The audience is now beginning to wonder, “Why should we believe you?” “What makes you an authority?” Or. “Why are you telling me this now?” So it is time to…
This takes a gentle hand. Don’t rattle off a long list of accomplishments, but do answer your audience’s unspoken question by briefly stating your qualifications for presenting this information or the reason for making an offer at this time. For example:
- Serving on the committee taught me several things -
- Our company recently researched the issue -
- One year, two law suits and $50,000 later -
- We’re overstocked and willing to take a loss -
Before launching the body of your presentation, state a specific action for the audience to take afterward and the results to expect from taking that action. This is an important step in the presentation. You’ll want to word it precisely:
- Listen to the facts, then mail your reservation tonight, and we’ll –
- Next time you fly, review today’- notes and you’ll fine –
- While driving home today, use just one of the ideas I present and learn –
Own Up To the Drawback
Have you ever noticed that some people always have a “Yeah, but…” for any argument you present? Whether your presentation is written or spoken, you can bet that much of your audience is waiting to pounce on all your best points. Here’s a little known trick that will set most executions to rest: Present the major drawback yourself – then immediately restate the positive side. “Some folks object to Jet Paint’s intense odor while trying. But in a well ventilated area, the odor disappears within 24 hours.”
When the audience sees that you are willing to consider both sides of a situation, your credibility takes a giant leap. Yet, you leave them with the point you want to make.
Close With an Action Step.
One of the best presentation closes summarizes the opening (excluding the credibility statement), recaps the major points and ends with an action. You may want to save an anecdote to lead into the summary. But the final words should restate the benefit and the necessary action to receive the benefit.