Whether you're pitching for a contract, speaking at an industry conference, or simply doing a brief introduction at a business networking event – taking ten minutes to ask yourself some simple questions can make a massive difference to the quality of your presentation.
I encourage all of my clients to look at and think about the following questions before we begin any presentation training or coaching sessions, because they determine the what, why and how of delivery.
We could easily have included dozens more, but here are 19 to get you started.
- What’s the purpose of your presentation? (in other words, what’s it for?)
- What is the desired outcome for your presentation?
- What is the single most important thing you want your audience to take away?
- What are the one, two or three key points that will help your audience remember the most important thing?
- Why should the audience listen to you?
- How many will there be in the audience?
- Who, specifically, are they?
- What’s their level of expertise in your presentation topic?
- How much does the audience already know about your topic?
- How much do they need to know for you to have achieved your outcomes?
- How much time do you have for your presentation?
- How much time will you devote to answering questions at the end?
- When and how will you take questions?
- How will you begin your presentation?
- How will you end it?
- What’s your call to action?
- Will someone be introducing you and, if so, will you provide them with guidance as to how you want to be introduced?
- From where will you present?
- Will you be using visuals, and if so what type? e.g. PowerPoint, flipchart, posterboards etc.
If you take the time to answer these questions, and use this information to plan your presentation, you'll find it automatically starts to stand out from the crowd.
Most people fail to take the time to think through the minor details of their presentations, and rely on ‘death by PowerPoint' instead – hitting their audience with an overload of unfocussed information.