A presentation is a formal communication to one or more people that "presents" information and ideas in a clear and effective way. Presentations can be live or recorded, transmitted through various forms of media, and may include words, sounds, and images. Most presentations range from informative to persuasive, and contain elements of both types.
Presentations come in as many forms as there are life situations: business pitches, sales presentations, consulting presentations, news briefings, status reports, media interviews, keynote speeches, training programs, vocational workshops, college courses, etc. Presentations can be written, memorized, impromptu, happy, sad, engaging and (of course) boring.
A good presentation grabs hold of an audience and navigates it from beginning to end - without letting go - until it concludes with a call to action. A good presentation makes it easy for the audience to grasp ideas, and leads them down a path towards a predetermined conclusion.
Whether you hire us for training, coaching, or consulting services, everything we do focuses on the Seven
Building Blocks of effective presentations:
You must know what you want to get what you want, so I encourage clients to create a list of audience-centric behavioral outcomes. In other words, I prompt clients to ask, “as a result of my communication, my audience will do what?” This list specifies behaviors, timeframes, and quantities, and allows us to craft a communication strategy to meet these objectives.
Ultimately, the success or failure of a presentation depends on whether or not the audience is motivated to act. In order to motivate our audience, we must first know their wants, needs, and potential objections - and take them into consideration. Failure to identify these characteristics often results in presentations that are generic an non-persuasive.
People are motivated to action by pain and pleasure, supported by emotional and empirical data - so most winning presentations contain both types. We help clients gather this data by performing an audience analysis, developing a hierarchy of emotional and empirical key persuaders, and incorporating this data into your presentation.
As the old Hollywood saying goes, “If it ain’t on the page, it ain’t on the stage.” The same holds true for business presentations. This is why I help clients prepare a script that grabs attention, incorporates key persuaders, and weaves a compelling story. In my experience, “well-crafted” translates to “well-presented”, so we write and rewrite to ensure that nothing is left to chance on opening night.
Audio Visual Aids
When people communicate, they do so using verbal and visual forms of communication. Since people learn and retain information that is presented visually better than information that is presented verbally, I help my clients translate data, concepts, and ideas into visually compelling props that grab attention, make the point, and have lasting impact.
Question & Answer Sessions
The Q&A session can be the most stressful, intimidating, and determinative part of a formal business presentation. It is the portion of the presentation where you relinquish some control, and give your audience an opportunity to see you think on your feet. The Q&A session also gives you an opportunity to support your argument and reinforce your message. With this in mind, I help my clients prepare for (and master) Q&A sessions by creating real-world practice scenarios, where participants are trained to handle difficult questions with calm, confidence, and control.
Rehearsal + Feedback
Practice makes perfect, and you only get one chance to make a good first impression. With this in mind, I rehearse my clients – again, and again, and again – until they are satisfied with the result and ready to present. I offer videotaped coaching sessions, and provide individual and group feedback in the areas of strategy, content, and presentation skills.