One more meeting, one more presentation

18 July 2013

Do you dread receiving another email inviting you to a meeting in a few days and asking you to make a presentation?  Yes?  It’s a widespread feeling and it’s happening right now all over the world.

After you initial discomfort, you decide to look over past presentations, select a bunch of slides and do the usual cut-and-paste into a new slide deck, changing the title slide, the date and maybe the agenda.

When you select slides, you say to yourself “I need to talk about this, and this, and maybe even this…”

The result is a mashup of slides that often lack a cohesive arrangement.

But this is not the only problem.  It lacks purpose.

Here is my advice to you.

Ask yourself these 3 questions, seriously, before you select the slides:

  1. What do I want to be the outcome of my presentation? (If I am asked to give a presentation, there is a purpose.)
  2. After I am done presenting, I want everybody in the room to know what? Or to do what?
  3. If there are three things I want them to know/do when they leave the room, which are absolutely essential, what would they be?

If you reflect on these questions, you will find the three key points your presentation needs to address (this is your agenda).  Now you can look at past presentations and find supporting materials to communicate your key points.

Just these key points.

The rest is useless.

If you liked this post, you might enjoy reading this one as well:  On being different (in presentations)

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Photocredit: anieto2k on Flickr, CC license. Composition: Haikudeck

4 Responses to “One more meeting, one more presentation”

  1. Very good point. Starting with writing down the desired outcome is a must for an effective presentation, yet so few presenters seem to do it.

    I slightly disagree about wanting people to either KNOW or DO something as a result of a talk, though. My argument is that the whole point of people knowing information is to ACT on it.

    I’ve written more about that here, and would love to hear your thoughts on it:
    Why present? JFK said it all…

  2. slightly disagree about wanting people to either KNOW or DO something as a result of a talk, though.

  3. Thank you for commenting. What would you add to the list? FEEL?

  4. slightly disagree about wanting people to either KNOW or DO something as a result of a talk, though.

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