Before you prepare your next presentation, ask yourself one critical question. By asking and answering this question before every presentation you will create and deliver a successful presentation.
When you know the answer to this question you will:
- Be ready to adapt the length of your presentation as needed
- Convey more confidence
- Be better prepared to handle questions and interruptions
- Know how to avoid wasteful tangents
- Stay focused on your key message
- Be more effective
- Write your presentation faster
The critical question to ask yourself before every presentation is…
As a result of your presentation, what do you want your audience to think, feel or do?
If you don’t ask this question you are probably wasting your time and their time. Your audience might become confused, bored and frustrated because of too much and irrelevant information.
This question helps you clarify your purpose in speaking. It addresses the “Why are you doing this?”
When you are clear on the desired outcome of your presentation, you’ll have a simple test for every slide, phrase, story and prop that you plan to use. If it doesn’t contribute to your purpose, leave it out.
Even though there are three parts to this question you might only need to deliver on one of them for presentation success.
Let’s examine each part.
What do you want your audience to think?
Do you want them to think about solving a problem? Then explain the relevant facts, context and opportunities.
Are you attempting to persuade them to agree with you? Then you need to build a bridge from their current position and perspective to where you want them to be. You need to address their unasked objections and concerns.
What do you want them to feel?
Feelings are based on emotions. Decide how you want your audience to feel and how you will touch and trigger the appropriate emotions.
Feelings are not based on facts. For example, experiencing a close family member dying from a disease is far more emotional than learning about hundreds or even thousands dying on the other side of the world.
We tend to be guided more by emotion than logic. Feelings are more likely to lead to action than thinking. That means that his part of the question is most critical if you expect action.
What do you want your audience to do?
Do you want your listeners to buy your product, proposal or idea? If you want them to give you money, then make sure that your presentation convinces them of the reason to do that.
Ensure that they know what you want them to do. Don’t hope that they will figure it out on their own. Make the case and tell them what to do. Sign here. Vote for me. Work for the cause.
The desired action will occur if you’ve provided enough logic and the appropriate emotion.
You will prepare and deliver a successful presentation when you start by asking yourself, “What do you want your audience to think, feel or do?”