Oh what a contradiction! First I say presentations are all about the audience, then I say it’s all about you! Which is it? Well, both.
Presentations that have impact
are conversations between the presenter
and the audience.
A conversation has two sides, each of which must have importance, or it is not a conversation. While you are developing your presentation, the focus is on the audience: understanding their perspective; their needs; their questions; their frame of reference.
But before you even start to develop your presentation, there is a very important element that many presenters skip…
Knowing Your Why!
In order to present a clear, brief, and simple message, you need to know your ‘why.’ The message isn’t the slides. The message is you. Your idea, your recommendation, your passion! Understanding and getting to know why this message is so important must happen first.
Before you open your presentation, before you begin to brainstorm, the presentation begins with your idea or message. It is that something you must communicate to someone. That is where your preparation begins, not when you sit down at your desk and open a blank powerpoint (keynote / google present) template.
The Message Begins With You
Think about your message. Get passionate about it! Feel the importance of this message so deeply in your gut that you feel you will explode if you don’t shout it from the top of the building (or mountain).
It is this passion, this energy that will get your message across, not a pretty powerpoint presentation.
The Archeologist In Your Head
Finding your why – your passion – your message, begins by excavating your thoughts like an archeologist searches for ancient treasures. Here are a few tools to help with the dig:
- -Discuss the topic with a coworker over lunch
- -Discuss it with your wife / husband over wine and dinner
- -Take a walk in the park and think out loud about the conversation you want to have.
- -Think about what will happen if you do not have this conversation
After a good day or evening of digging, it is now time to sit down with a blank piece of paper (or text document) and write everything down. This is a stream of consciousness exercise. There is no editing, and no stopping. Keep writing until you have nothing left in you. Write for at least 30 minutes. Now. Stop
Now, tell me, in one sentence, why is this topic so important to you?