Y is the Key to presentation success

For a great presentation Y is the key to success, yet it is not normally the starting point for preparing a presentation.  What I mean by that is that people are asked to do a presentation about a given subject and launch straight into their preparation without stopping to consider the audience, their needs, and most importantly, the reason “Y” they should accept the  information being delivered.

First ask yourself “Y” should they need to hear my presentation?

If we cannot explain at this point why they should need to hear the material then how are we going to structure and build our arguments to ensure we get our message across.  Once when we have settled on why they should hear the presentation we have to build an introduction that creates the “need” in them to listen?  If not we have to stop and think again because no one wants to sit and listen to a presentation if they do not feel they need to hear what is being said.  They may sit politely but it doesn’t mean they are listening.

Next ask yourself “Y” should they agree to what I am saying?

The next stage is to realise that your are stating a position on whatever material you are presenting and your role as a presenter is to get them to accept your position and ergo the material you are delivering.  You must therefore start by making a list for yourself of the key reasons they should agree and then build those into your presentation.  Remember the average person cannot handle more than around seven key points, some would say even that may be too many and less better delivered is a better strategy.

Then ask yourself why would they not agree?

It is equally important to challenge your own material and ensure that you either have answers to questions they might ask, or even better, you redo some of your material to put these answers into the presentation.  There really is nothing better then beating them to the question by already having provided the answer.

Finally remind them of the key points and “Y” they should agree

So many people forget the power of the conclusion and fail to hammer home their argument.  We start by telling them what we are going say (introduction), then we say it (body of the presentation), and then finally we should remind them of what we did say (conclusion).  However, the best presentations do not just have a conclusion that restates the key point, but that have an extra point for impact.  I try to always keep a trump card for the conclusion.  Then not only are you ending by reminding them of the presentation, but you send them away really thinking about the ending and hopefully the impact it is having on them.

A well developed presentation that follows they key steps takes time to prepare and presenters shouldn’t fail to give themselves the necessary time to put it together.