Just as advertising and marketing have grown to be of massive importance and critical in selling and making a profit. It is also about building engaging relationships. I believe that delivering a great presentation full of ideas, insights to the right audience, with clear objectives – agreed and set in advance – is probably the most ‘under-rated’ sales weapon today. AND, one thing I have seen over the last couple of decades worldwide, is that great presenters are master storytellers!
I think too many people today are overly reliant on slick websites, email marketing, sms and social media marketing. But, they aren’t totally capitalizing on storytelling with planned and organized thoughts, delivered with polished performance skills and refined to deliver on the exact needs of your ‘captive audience’.
My Key Steps in Preparing for a great Speech or Presentation:
Before I make or even start working on a speech or presentation, I find it is always useful (Mandatory) to develop a ‘Listener Analysis’
By this I mean, always find out and address the specific needs and data required or needed by your target audience in the room. Specifically, always try to find out: what ideas, words, examples or facts that connect and resonate with your audience. This will ensure you have the most convincing and persuasive speech/presentation.
- Listener Analysis Example (s):
- Are the key or final decision-makers in the room?
- Who are the key influencers that impact the decision-makers in the room or meeting?
- Are they prepared to act TODAY?
- What exactly do they want or need now
- What are the key points in this speech/presentation that they must be in agreement?
- What excites them or hits their ‘hot spots or sweet spots’?
- Whose opinions do they currently respect and listen to?
- What do they currently feel about me, my company or my subject?
- Have I accommodated the ‘politics’ in the meeting?
- Presentation VS. Speech:
To ensure we are on the same-page, I just wanted to clarify my definition of the two different roles above.
A presentation differs from a speech. A speech is usually delivered from a platform in front of a microphone in a large room or auditorium. Audiences can number in the hundreds or thousands if you’re good!
Whereas, a speech is usually scripted and its primary purpose is to entertain, inspire or promote goodwill or enhance Public Relations. Speeches usually don’t push for an immediate answer for an objective raised. BUT, often persuasion is involved and used.
- Discussion VS. Presentation:
Having some two plus decades of talking to audiences, I have found that presentation differ dramatically from informal talk or discussions. Audiences in discussions are usually smaller groups. In my experience, usually around a boardroom table!
Discussions are more informal than Presentations! Discussions characteristics include: rolling up the sleeves, making off the record-the-record comments, while searching from input from the others involved. Importantly, there is no ‘real assignment’ of a presenter or audience role.
In fact, working in the Advertising Industry, I have seen many heated and wild discussions over the years. Especially in the 1980’s!
- The Presentation:
In a presentation, the roles of both the Presenter and Audience are clearly defined. In many cases, the audience only participates if there is a Q&A at the end of the presentation.
The presentation is the result of tremendous planning, thought and hard-work. In presentations, visual aids are commonly used and are designed to persuade the target audience to make a decision and commit them to take action!
A great and skillful Presenter always carefully ensures his audience feel the presentation and information was ‘tailored’ just for them.
A presentation MUST always be a well organized, thoughtful and strategically planned product. As most Presenters have a limited time to present (e.g. In TED Talks only 18 minutes, etc.) – it’s critical to present great ideas and make your presentation convincing.
If you use any materials or visual aids in your Presentation always present and use in the most effective sequence and at the critical times.
And last, but by no means least, to make your presentation or speech great, make sure you grab your audience’s attention within the first 30 seconds, or, your audience will likely ‘tune out’ of your presentation. Always ensure you use powerful stories to take your audience on a ‘mental journey’ – the better the story, the harder for the audience to resist!
Always remember that for centuries, people have been ‘hard-wired’ to listen to stories! Stories are the way human knowledge has been passed on for generations – even before the ‘written word’. Bottom-line, it’s the natural way our brain learn, absorb and process information.
BTW, I will share some of my tips on how the expert Presenters on Madison Avenue generally organize their flow charts for presentations in my next article. Stay tuned…
Now, go break a leg! If you apply these principles I am sure your next talk or presentation will be a huge success!
More About Geoff De Weaver:
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