The Most Overlooked Step in Creating Great Presentations

The Most Overlooked Step in Creating Great Presentations image recite 18682 540583991 79impx 212x300The Most Overlooked Step in Creating Great PresentationsSo you have to give a presentation? What is the first thing you do? Fire up the laptop, open PowerPoint and start putting text to slides?

Step away from the PowerPoint…slowly.

The first question you need to ask yourself is, what type of presentation is this? Is there something I want my audience to know something, to do something immediately after your presentation or to feel something?

If you don’t know what type of presentation you’re giving, you’re not going to be effective in creating a presentation your audience loves.

To Know

When you want to your audience to know something, you give an Informative speech. (I know at this point I sound like your 12th grade public speaking class, but bear with me). These could be how-to speeches or explaining the latest research. Do you give workshops that teach people something? Those are informative as well.

Use the blogging test to determine if your presentation is in the know category.

If your main point sounds like a how-to or is meant to give out information, then this is your category.

The purpose of a blog is to give information away for free. Here are some examples:

  • Top 5 Tricks for Using Google+
  • 5 Strategies for Building Relationships Through Public Speaking
  • SEO Mistakes Every Blogger Makes and How You Can Fix Them
  • How to Make your Twitter Profile Stand Out

Very informative topics. Blogs give information that can be used immediately. The goal is to have the audience know something. If your speech allows your audience to learn a new skill or upgrade their current knowledge, then you are giving an informative presentation.

To Do

If you want your audience to do something immediately after your presentation, then you need to persuade. What you want them to do can vary based on the goals of your presentation.

Some examples:

  • Donate money to my charity to help children
  • Buy my spiffy new product that solves all your problems
  • Sign-up for my newsletter so they can be 3 times the speaker in half the time

Many persuasive presentations can start off as informative, but by the end there is a pitch. This is especially true if you are selling from the stage. Don’t fool yourself and say that you want your audience to know when really your ultimate goal is to have them buy. Providing value and great content is key in a persuasive speech that has an offer, but everything in that speech should build to that offer.

To Feel

Feelings…nothing but feelings…the goal of an entertaining/inspirational speech is to have the audience feel. You can make them laugh or make them cry or take them on a roller coaster ride.

Comedians – although a different type of presenters – their goal is to entertain. They want you to laugh (sometimes to think) but always to have fun. Think about the keynote speaker at the yearly correspondents dinner

For some speeches, the only intent is to make the audience feel something. TED talks are great examples of this. Brene Brown wants us to embrace our vulnerability and lead better lives. Amanda Palmer encourages us to ask. I’ve encouraged people to feel to heal in order to overcome grief.

Clarity is key in having a successful presentation that connects with the hearts and minds of your audience. What type of speech are you giving? Start with the answer to that question before you write a single world. Tell me in the comments below what kind of presentation you are giving next.

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