inCredible Messages Blog

Tips to Design a Powerful Presentation

Looking to design a powerful presentation that will capture attention and sell your ideas?  Follow these steps:

  • Anticipate any resistance you might encounter.  Use informal and formal channels to learn as much as you can about individual audience members’ perspectives.  Think through the reasons behind any resistance.  For example, resistance might be due lack of information, bias from a past experience, a low priority issue, etc.
  • Create a storyline for your presentation before you sit down in front of a PowerPoint template.  Consider various types of support in addition to PowerPoint slides.  These might include case studies, analogies, illustrations, and props.
  • In structuring your content, provide context (connecting your message with strategic priorities and profitability), rather than background.  The chronology of a project is rarely interesting or needed. For example, “The late tomato harvest means we will have to adjust our schedule and lay off workers for two weeks.”
  • Brainstorm logic (facts, numbers, graphs, and objective measurements) and concrete or emotional pictures (analogy, images, examples, and story) to address various kinds of resistance and/or misunderstanding.
  • Begin your presentation with an overview, providing the gist before the details.  Once the audience has grasped the overview, provide details appropriate to the needs of the audience.  Provide an appendix or links for those who desire even more information.
  • Generate roughly 3 times more material than you need.  This enables you to slice away all but the best—and still be thoroughly prepared for any questions that arise.
  • Take a break between generating material and deciding what material to use.  The break will allow you to shift perspectives and make better decisions.
  • Design your slides to show a hierarchy of information, not to list details.  Avoid the temptation to clutter your slides.  You, as the speaker, are responsible to fill in details.
  • Make the titles of your slides tell a story, not simply identify topics.  For example, Market Conditions Favor Expansion is more compelling than Market Conditions.
  • Rehearse.  Plan and rehearse transitions and junctures in which you will break the PowerPoint monotony.
  • Identify talking points to include in the Q & A.  Remember that Q & A is an integral part of the presentation, not an appendage.

Posted by Bonnie Budzowski in How to Persuade & Gain Commitment.


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