A scientist once said our brains (not just Stu + auGi’s, but all brains) are basically lazy. They’re always looking for the shortest route to decipher the meaning of... x (but y? Ok, sorry for the lame algebra-inspired joke).
For our beloved Insiders (that’s you), here’s the takeaway: if you make your audience work too hard to understand your presentation, they’ll be confused and exhausted… neither of which predisposes them to actually give you what you want.
So, how do you perk up(!) their slacky brains and help connect them with your ideas and intentions?
Answer these 3 basic questions before you start creating your slide deck:
1. What are you trying to say?
2. To whom?
3. What do you want or need from them?
1. The most important question is, “What are you trying to say?”
Are you sharing an update? Making a single (or series) of recommendations?
For example, if you’re trying to make a case that you should extend your product launch into a brand new territory, say that. If you’re trying to raise 1M dollars in non-dilutive funding, say that. And if you’re trying to build a bulletproof case to fire the CEO… just say it.
Whatever you’re trying to communicate, whittle the what down to one sentence. Write your what on a sticky note and keep it visible at all times. You can even tape it above your workspace.
This what should serve as your North Star—the guiding light that will illuminate and guide every point in your presentation.
2. Who will be in the room?
Find out who’ll be joining your presentation and, as you develop your outline, share your ideas in advance.*
This feedback loop is helpful because once you know your ideas are on point, it will save time when you start building your deck. Plus, it will have the added benefit of gaining buy-in.
Also, people generally LOVE to give feedback and be included, so it’s a win-win before you’ve even launched PowerPoint or Keynote on game day (or in auGi’s case, broadcasting the slides on his gigantic forehead. Yes, it’s that formidable).
*NOTE: If you’re presenting to an external group (i.e., conference, client, workshop) where you don’t have direct access to the attendees, request an interview with the meeting or event coordinator. Ask him/her for 20 minutes to learn as much you can about the conference, their attendees, and their expectations of you. For more tips on how to solicit feedback, read our earlier post: Are You Talking to ME?
Once you’re clear on what you’re trying to say and to whom, your final question is:
3. “What do I want (or need) from the audience?”
Do you want them to give the go-ahead for your new product launch?
Do you want them to invest in your company?
Do you need them to support your recommendation for Free Taco Thursdays? (You’ve got our support!)
Whatever you want, make it clear, concise, and (bonus) practice making the request. It should always occur to the audience as an opportunity for them, not as a favor you need. The point of presenting is to bring value to the audience and why they matter.
THE WRAP: Understand why you’re giving the presentation, share your ideas early with participants to gain affirmation, and be clear about what you want/need from the audience at the end of your talk so, when you get to that closing slide on presentation day, you’ll vastly improve your odds of the nod.
NEXT MONTH: GET READY FOR OUR 4-ELEMENT SUPERSLIDE DESIGN FRAMEWORK!
Now that you have the tools to build a strategic foundation for your presentation, how can you create a deck that looks like a Ferrari GTO? We’ll show you how.
See you in April!
Stuart & auGi
PS. Tweet your favorite Insider line!
@StuartPitch / @auGiGarred #pitchDNA
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