5 tips to make tomorrow’s big presentation a hit
The big day is tomorrow. You are going to give a presentation and a lot depends on its success. With less than 24 hours left, you haven’t got much time to prepare. But, believe me, you still have the time to use these 5 tools to make your presentation snappier, more fascinating, more compact – a presentation that has an impact.
- Identify the key message. Note that I use the word “message” in singular. Yep, just one key message that the audience needs to remember, no matter what. So take a sheet of paper now and answer the following question: If your audience were asked to recall your key message in one single sentence, what would it be? You don’t want this sentence to be a tired summary of your presentation: “well, the talk was about good sales practice”; instead you want it to be a single sharp message: “good sales is 10% charisma and 90% hard work.” Don’t just keep this key message in your head, WRITE IT DOWN. This short sentence is the focus, the core of your presentation. Bear it in mind. Always. Your primary goal is to deliver this message. If you have this one sentence in front of you during the presentation, it will give your speech a much clearer focus, and your audience will be grateful for it.
- Add a story. If you are giving an internal presentation about what your department does for the organisation, you can illustrate it with a success story. If you are giving a sales speech, why not include a story of a real customer to illustrate how you can help? Everybody loves good stories. So have one ready for tomorrow.
- Add a picture. A picture that illustrates a crucial point you’re making. A picture that stirs emotions. And here I don’t mean a tiny picture in the corner of a slide with lots of writing in a tiny font. What I mean is this. Big, expressive, good-quality pictures make your point much more memorable than any writing on a slide.
- Plan an attention grabbing start. Focus on the first half-minute. What tool are you going to use to grab your audience’s attention straightaway? Present a shocking statistic? Ask a thought-provoking question? Or tell a story? Either way make sure you make an impression in that first half-minute.
- Ask yourself – What if I only had 20% of my allotted speaking time? Look through your slides now and consider: what would be absolutely essential to say if you only had 4 minutes instead of the initially planned 20? (And no, speaking 5 times more quickly is not the right answer!). What is it that you could let go of? Perhaps certain data are not so important to mention in the actual presentation – it might be sufficient if you send them by e-mail. But what is the point of this last exercise? you might ask. After all, I will have 20 minutes, not 4. In all likelihood you will. However, equally likely is that in your presentation you have squeezed in five times as much information as your audience can possibly digest. So let go of some of the “great” data you were going to present, delete some slides and give your audience some breathing space. They will thank you for it.