Five Keys to Great Presentations

Fly in Formation

“Success leaves clues” is one for my favourite quotes from “Think & Grow Rich” by Napoleon Hill. When I want to learn something, I look to people who have done it well and the ‘clues’ they have left and then turn those into ‘keys’ to help others unlock their potential.

Public speaking is one of these areas. For a recent Manawatu Chamber of Commerce “Lunch & Learn” session, I presented on “How to do a great 1 hour presentation” using 5 KEYS. The feedback would indicate this is a topic many people could do with some ‘keys’ on.

The ‘Master-key’ of any presentation must answer 5 “W’s”

Why are you giving this talk – the core purpose of your message defines everything else. Be clear on this. You should be able to state it in one short sentence. For me, my talk was to ‘equip attendees with confidence, skills and templates to present a clear message in 1 hour’.

Who is your audience and what context is your talk being given in – the better you know your audience the more you can tailor your message to be received well.

Know where you are speaking and when. Being well prepared helps build confidence. Knowing where allows you to also plan you room layout ensure you have appropriate props and equipment. The ‘when’ element also includes timing – how long do you have to speak, will you be introduced, do you have time for Q&A.

The next 4 KEYS help ensure your talk adds value and is engaging.

Knowledge – What knowledge will you need to

1)    Gather? I like to ask what they want and what they know at the start of my talks. For large groups I get people to discuss in pairs/smaller groups and share a few common points.

2)    Show you know you ‘stuff’? Remember less is more – pick the key points and don’t drown people in facts.

3)    Impart so people get what they need?

Engagement – How will you keep people engaged? I find that you need to have some form of change of pace and tempo every 15minutes. Consider sandwiching your point between a short relevant story and/or an appropriate activity. Ask questions, get people to discuss a point raised and have reinforcing illustrations. Ensure each activity has a point. Top tip – Ensure your audience is as comfortable and relaxed as possible. People learn best when relaxed. (Laughter comes before learning)

Yield – Yield (Outcome) What do you want them to leave knowing/doing/feeling? This ties into the overall purpose and reinforces that your talk needs to ‘give’ audience something – a different viewpoint, a new way of thinking, stirred spirit, information, plan of action, etc. What value will they get from having been there and invested their time in you?

Stickiness – How will your message Stick? Many people attend talks and then forget what it was about. “Nothing changes when nothing changes”. Success is measured in what happens after your talk. Are you clear on what success looks like for you and for them? How will you ensure it sticks? Do you have a follow up? What could you do to reinforce the key points you made? How will you seek feedback?

I trust this helps you in your next talk. You will find a downloadable write-on template here on our website. As always do get in touch if we can be of any assistance.