Improving Strategy, Content,
Technology & Delivery
Quote of the Week
Quote of the Week
"People only see what they are prepared to
--Ralph Waldo Emerson
We could perhaps expand this phrase and say, "People only hear what they are prepared to hear" . . . but what relevance does this phrase have for presenters . . . or for presentation professionals embroiled in the building of presentations? I contend that many presentations fail for lack of proper 'positioning' statements that 'prepare' audiences to see and hear what we intend for them.
All too often we construct our presentations around the latest news, the latest technologies or the latest statistics that we believe should be important to our audience. We begin by revealing a few facts or marketplace changes . . . throw out our considered opinion(s) as to who or what is responsible for these events . . . continue with a few obvious reactions . . . and then state the course of action we intend to take in response. We support these ideas with only the PowerPoint frames that we find easy to construct and make excuses for the mediocre appearance citing lack of time. By this time, our audience is either busy agreeing or disagreeing with us and choosing which of our conclusions to support . . . or staring at us wondering why they are there.
Without first 'positioning' a speech for an audience, we run the risk of finding ourselves halfway through our allotted time with our audience's minds going in dozens of different directions. A very simple approach that reduces this risk involves delivering some very simple 'positioning' statements at the opening of the presentation.
Stating 'why' the presentation is being made . . . 'We are meeting today to discuss and better understand a new threat to the profitability of our business' . . . makes it clear why it is worth their time.
Defining exactly 'what' the topic is (or isn't) focuses their attention . . . 'The threat I'm going to discuss is the competition we face now that 'xyz' product is readily available nationwide'
Giving dimension to the issue gets their undivided attention . . . 'This product has the potential of cutting the demand for our services in half - and eliminating half of our jobs'
Suggesting a conclusion prepares them for the conclusion you intend to reach . . . 'The course of action I will be proposing has the potential of maintaining our sales and staff levels'
By dedicating a few precious and deliberate minutes at the beginning of every presentation to these simple components 'prepares' people to see and hear your intended message!
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Quote of the Week 12-29-03
"To talk well and eloquently is a very
great art, but that
an equally great one is to know the right moment to stop. "
- Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Composer
Often presentations are molded around the available time on an agenda.
To accept such a parameter when 'more'' time is required may get in the way of clearly communicating a concept or accomplishing objectives. There are several ways to deal with this. One is to clearly state at the onset that this presentation is only an introduction to the topic at hand - and then reveal just enough to assure further inquiries. Then offer a clear method of 'hearing' the remainder of the presentation.
When the time allocated is more generous than required, creative planning is called for. Utilizing the extra time for obtaining immediate feedback is an excellent way to increase your own productivity and efficiency. Engaging the audience in a non-threatening way can also build strong relationships and credibility.
Contact us for assistance in developing presentations that work!
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