We all know that feeling as you have just been asked to present at the next all staff meeting. Excitement about the opportunity quickly turns to fear as you start wondering “Where do I even begin?” If you’re anything like me your process may begin by going google and typing in “how to create a presentation for dummies.” That may even be how you landed here.
Over the next few days I want to give you an inside look at how I have prepared thousands of presentations. No matter what the audience or topic I have found that these 6 easy to use steps come through every time, helping me to deliver stand out presentations that leave my audience ready for more. So, let’s dive in today to steps 1-3.
Step 1: Develop your content.
In order to deliver a stand out presentation you must have stand out content. This step though it may seem ridiculous to say out loud is often the most over looked step in the process. The reality is that if you are being asked to present someone believes you are an expert on a particular subject. Often times what happens is that because we have a large amount of knowledge of our content, we end up neglecting the development of it. We figure that our head knowledge can carry us through and we skip right to the outline and design. Don’t make this mistake. Take the time to develop your content, sit in your content and ask yourself how can I become more of an expert? When doing this you will often discover there are areas you can still learn in that will enable to you to be ready for anything on presentation day.
Step 2: Outline your presentation.
For me this step is the most fun in my entire process because this is the creative portion of my preparation. Your outline is a chance for you to get all your ideas on paper. To begin to put a skeleton to your content and create an “arc of the story” within your presentation. I always recommend that for this portion you close the computer and go analog. Get some paper and a pencil and start to work through the flow of your presentation. For me I make a rule that I only spend 10 minutes on each section as I outline my presentation, what this does is it helps me to keep the ideas flowing and not get bogged down in the details of each point. Then after I have completed the outline I go back through and erase and tweak where necessary.
Step 3: Manuscript your presentation.
This is the part of the process where you will really begin to get in the weeds of your content. Take your outline and start to put the meat on it. As I prepare I write out word for word what I will say. It is important to note that does not mean I will memorize this later, though some people do. Instead writing out a manuscript for your presentation forces you to think through every word, every transition, and every story you will deliver. This is a tedious portion of the presentation preparation, but it is vital. As you work through your manuscript don’t write as if you are preparing for a paper, instead write like you talk. Try not to get bogged down in grammar or punctuation as this will not be seen by anyone other than you. Instead allow your thoughts to flow freely using the structure of the outline you created in step 2.
Preparing for a presentation can be overwhelming and sometimes down right exhausting. But with this 6-step process you will move from exhausted to excited as you flex your creative muscles preparing to deliver content you love. Join us tomorrow as we unpack the second half of the preparation process looking at the importance of presentation design, practice, and delivery.