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What message will your presentation deliver ?

January 30, 2010

Presentation is the killer skill we take into the real world. It’s almost an unfair advantage.
The McKinsey Mind

Okay so maybe where you work doesn’t feel like the “real world” (whatever that is) but presentations are important, really important. Every day thousands of presentations of every size, purpose and description are done and most of them are done badly, very badly. We know that, feel that, but let’s turn the question around—what makes a presentation a good one, a successful one?

In any presentation you do, you will deliver a message. It may not be the one you expected or wanted, but there will be a message. The trick is to deliver the message your audience needs so you make an impact.

What I mean by ‘impact’ is that the audience:

Understands your message
Remembers your message
Changes as a result of your message

That last item is crucial: as the presenter, you are there to create change.

President Kennedy is quoted as saying, “The only reason to give a speech is to change the world.”  That’s probably a bigger agenda than most us deal with in our presentations, but the principle is right–create change. If nothing changes as a result of your presentation, then it was unnecessary or a failure.

That means you, as presenter, must focus on the audience. You must do everything necessary to:

Enable them to understand
Help them to remember
Inspire them to change

And that’s my answer to what a good presentation is: it had impact.

The message that your audience needed was delivered, they understood it, remembered it and acted on it.

Yes, the proverbial devil is in the details, so future posts will look at a process that can help you figure out just what works so they will, in fact, understand, remember and be inspired. It can be done and you can do it!

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