A Present to help you with your presentations…


Whether you are in business or work for a business, the chances are at some stage you will get asked to make a presentation.

Now presentations come in all sorts of shapes and sizes, from standing up in-front of an audience of hundreds at a conference, delivering a ten-minute talk for your networking group, to holding a meeting for your team colleagues.

Get it right and it should be memorable, informative, engaging and a catalyst for change. Get it wrong, and you will feel like you’re dying a thousand deaths and your audience wonder how they will ever get that time they’ve just wasted back into their lives!

I could spend a dozen articles going into depth about presentation content and delivery style, but this quick guide will ensure you will have a great basis for an effective presentation.

As I’m calling it my present to help you with your presentations, let’s use the word present as our basis.

P – Persuasive title

R – Results-focussed objectives

E – Evidence of past success

S – Seven Slide Model

E – Engage your audience

N – Nail your colours to your mast

T – Task-based finish

Persuasive title –

If you’ve ever sat in on a presentation that starts with a slide saying ABC Ltd Presentation May 2012, then you’ll be familiar with the yawn-effect that overcomes you the moment you sit down – NOT GOOD! Avoid this completely by having a title that persuades your audience to pay attention – the best way to do this is to include in your title a big, fat benefit for your audience. For instance, a title like The Quickest Way to Boost Your Sales Today!

R – Results-focussed objectives

One of the biggest mistakes made in presentations is having an agenda that the audience don’t buy into – that is the quickest way to get your room to tune out! So don’t tell your audience what you’re going to cover, let them know what they’ll be able to do as a result of what you’re going to cover. So, instead of “This month’s sales figures” as an agenda point, try “How to work out your own bonus”.

Also, don’t get bogged down with trying to cover too much in your agenda – ideally, avoid covering more than 3 main objectives.

E – Evidence of past successes

If you’re trying to introduce a new idea or concept to your audience, back this up with some evidence of previous success with your concept. Few people like to be trail-blazers, but they like to follow well-trodden paths, therefore back up each of your presentation-points with a mini example of where the approach you’re suggesting is already proving a success.

S – Seven Slide Model

I often get asked how many slides a presentation should include. To be honest, the rule of thumb is one slide for every three minutes of presentation time. However, a better approach is to construct your presentation around a seven-slide model (this isn’t to say you should only have seven slides in your presentation but it certainly should be your starting point) let me run through the model…

Slide 1 – persuasive title slide

Slide 2 – list your 3 results-focussed objectives

Slide 3 – Explanation and evidence of success with objective #1

Slide 4 – Explanation and evidence of success with objective #2

Slide 5 – Explanation and evidence of success with objective #3

Slide 6 – Summary of your 3 results-focussed objectives

Slide 7 – Task-based finish

E – Engage your audience

There’s nothing worse than unintentionally building an invisible wall between you and your audience – but many presenters do it every time they present! This is because they don’t engage with their audience. Nobody like being talked at, so make sure you involve the people you’re presenting to. Make sure you engage your audience at least once during your presentation – the best way to do this is to get them interacting amongst themselves. If it was me I would ask my audience to discuss amongst themselves what their biggest sales challenge is. But you think what your most effective audience-engaging trick would be.

N – Nail your colours to your mast

To my mind, the saying “nail your colours to your mast” means you should really believe in what you are saying. And you’ve got to believe in what you are saying when you are delivering a presentation – otherwise your audience will smell a rat and disengage from your session as quickly as an ice-cube melting in a micro-wave!

So, avoid “sitting on the fence” phrases like “I think…” and “It should work…” because these will erode the effectiveness of the message you are delivering.

T – Task-based finish

Many presentations, regardless of how well-constructed they are, or how well presented they are, fall at the last fence by not getting the audience to do anything.

After all, if you think about it logically, why would you spend the time delivering an informative, engaging presentation if you didn’t want your audience to go away and do something differently as result of it? So, make sure you finish your presentation with a definite call to action – that way, if they go away and do what you’ve asked them to, they’ll remember you, your presentation, and they things they’ve learnt from you!


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