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How Do You Prepare For An Upcoming Presentation?

Three Simple Steps to be Right On Target. If you're like most busy professionals when asked to give a presentation in an hour, or the next day, or next quarter for that matter, you probably first reach for a recent slide deck that has something to do with the topic you'll be speaking about. You rearrange the slides, create a couple more and you're done! Right? Wrong.

I have a much better idea for you and it starts with your audience not your slides.

Research has shown high level audiences report that 49% of the presentations they sit through are a waste of time. Why? Because the information isn't relevant and their specific concerns are not met. If you follow these three simple preparation steps your presentations will hit the bulls eye.

Step One: Determine the audience profile.If possible, know their names and roles. Make sure you know the levels of influence represented. It makes a difference as to whether they are motivated by details and tactics or big ideas and strategic alignment. Know the predisposition of the audience. Are they familiar with your service or product? Will they be difficult to persuade or do they just need a nudge? Learn as much as you can about their individual preferences. I once learned one of the Directors I was going to present to hated documents that were stapled. I didn't have one staple in the materials I distributed in the meeting.

Step Two: Determine the needs of the audience.Ken Haemer, a Research Manager at AT&T once said, "Giving a presentation without having your audience in mind is like writing a love letter "To Whom it May Concern". You must be familiar with the specific business problem that your product or service will solve. Understand why this problem needs to be solved? Arm yourself with information as to what happens if the problem isn't solved. If you don't know this information specifically, you have the power of the internet to understand industry trends and current issues encountered by similar businesses.

Step Three: Anticipate their questions.We can't always anticipate every question on the minds of our audience members but we can certainly anticipate most of them. Some questions are more challenging than others. I've been so bold as to list on a slide the questions I thought might be on their minds, and ask, "Are these the critical questions you want answered? Are there any others?"

I then went on to assure them the questions were addressed in the three key points of the presentation. I immediately had their attention. Whether you show your list of questions or not, at least make a list of the questions you might be asked and then determine the three key points that address the questions or concerns.

NOW it's time to create your slide deck. Design your slides carefully leaving a role for you the presenter to augment the information. A slide deck doesn't move audiences to action, you do because you are prepared and your information is relevant. You can now feel confident that you are on target to exceed their expectations.

Please contact Red Cup Presentations to learn more about how to create clear, concise and compelling presentations that move your audiences to action.

Next month...How do you prepare YOURSELF?


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