Imagine you're giving a presentation at work tomorrow. You have your speech organized & outlined, your visual aids prepared, & your delivery down to near perfection. So now is the time to ask yourself... is this presentation even necessary? Or alternatively - what's the point?
Seemingly obvious yet often overlooked, even by experienced presenters, the "so what" is the meat & potatoes – the core – the essence - of any impactful presentation. The key is to begin with a clear purpose in mind. What is the desired outcome of the presentation? What will your audience do, know or understand differently as a result of the presentation? Why should your audience care? Begin with the end goal in mind and your presentation will be more focused, leading your audience to your intended take-home message. And there's no need to be secretive about what your purpose is. Think about it – do you like to be kept waiting? Well, neither does your audience. Ask yourself, have you answered the "so what" in 45 seconds or less? If yes, you've probably hooked their attention. If no, you may want to reexamine the clarity of your purpose...
2. The VIP: I or You?
Who is this presentation about: you or your audience? If you answered "me", then you might as well go talk to yourself in your bathroom mirror. Your audience is not there to see you - they are there for two likely reasons: (1) to find a solution to a problem they may have and (2) to feel good about themselves. So many business presentations fail to address the individuals' interests by giving too much (irrelevant) information, trying to make too many points, or using language that the audience cannot relate to - in a nutshell... they're boring! In designing a presentation, your challenge then becomes to give your audience what they want while at the same time motivating your audience to take the action you intended (your desired outcome).
3. Be Real! (Perfection is Overrated)
Now that you've designed a well thought-out presentation with a clear purpose and the listener's interests in mind, there's only one thing left to do... Relax! Again, humans like interacting with other humans... not overly precise, programmed robots! When you stop trying to be perfect and just let the audience see you as you are – you eliminate fear (of failing to be perfect) and more effectively connect with your listeners (the VIPs).