There’s no doubt that seasoned presenters have an advantage over those who are doing it for the first time. But, whether they think about how to create presentations consciously or not, they still must ask themselves these five questions.
1. Who is your audience?
Every presentation starts here. You must know your audience.
Who are these people? Why are they there? What do they expect?
What are their backgrounds and experiences?
You need to tailor your presentation just for them.
2. What’s your message?
In just a few words, and no more than a sentence, you should be able to state your message.
It may be in the title of your presentation. If so, then it needs to be meaningful.
Let me give you an example.
Textbooks can be recognized just by reading their titles: Management, or Leadership in the 21st Century, or Marketing.
What specifically do they tell us about those books? And you know the answer already. They don’t tell you anything.
All of those subjects are so big that you could easily be left wondering why you should buy them at all.
And that proves my point. Your presentation needs to have one specific message; one that is so clear that everyone will be able to grasp it right away.
3. Is a presentation that best way to communicate my message?
Few people seem to ask this question. Instead they assume that it’s just another word for a briefing, lecture, or speech. But they call it a presentation because it sounds more prestigious than the other terms do.
A presentation is a particular form of communication. It is not talking at a group of people (briefing). It’s not a reprimand, say for under performance, or a discourse on a topic. Nor is it a speech.
Instead, it is the act of giving something – a present, if you like – to your audience.
4. What is the take-away?
The word communication means that your audience understands what you think you told them. And that implies that once they’ve understood it, it will have meaning for them.
What do you want the message in your presentation to mean to them?
5. What is the call to action?
What do you want your audience to do as a result of your presentation?