2 Questions You MUST Ask Before Giving Any Presentation

Ask these two important questions before you begin your presentation :: Renovate Communication Design, LLCYou’ve probably attended a meeting or presentation and, early in, thought, “This has no relevance to me at all.”

Or maybe you’ve sat through the entire meeting and wondered, “Now what?”

You can avoid these common pitfalls in your own presentations if you answer these two critical (but sometimes rarely asked) questions before you begin working on your content or making slides.

1. Who’s coming?

Who will attend your meeting or presentation?

Spend five minutes thinking about them. Picture their faces, say their names. What do they want? What are they afraid of? Jot down your answers on paper.

Want to go one step further?

Ask them yourself. Walk around the office and talk to your co-workers. Or put together a short survey and send it to them. This is especially helpful if you’re leading a workshop or seminar and have the attendees’ email addresses before the event. You can quickly create a survey and collect the responses easily with a Google Form.

The better you understand who’s in your audience, the more you can tailor your message to their needs. And the more relevant it is to their needs, the more they’ll appreciate your talk–and you.

2. What do I want them to do?

A boring presentation delivers information.

A good presentation motivates people to act.

Once you understand your audience and their needs, decide what you’ll want them to do.

In his massively bestselling book, The 7 Habits of Highly Successful People, Stephen Covey calls this “beginning with the end in mind.” You can apply the same idea to your presentations.

Do you want prospects to buy? Parents to change the way they talk to their teens? Students to get their work done? Employees to buy in to a new way of doing things?

Determine what you’ll ask them to do and then work backwards–build everything in your meeting or talk with the end in mind. This keeps your message focused and gives your audience clear direction when its over.

For your next presentation, start by asking these two questions and you’ll see a difference.

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5 ways to minimize distractions and gain more listeners

Distractions, just like life, are going to happen. But you can improve your delivery and remain connected with your audience by minimizing the distractions that may be in your presentations.

Here are 5 ways to get started.

  1. Eliminate unnecessary text – If your audience can read your entire presentation from your slide on the screen, you have made yourself unnecessary. It’s that simple. You hold all of the information and your slides are for emphasis. Make yourself necessary by putting the attention back on you.
  2. Clothes matter – Make sure that you can move in the clothes you are wearing for your talk. Clothing that needs constant adjustment won’t work. And men–remember that the day of your presentation isn’t the time to wear that overly bold tie. For the ladies–don’t put on those extra dangly or overly large hoop earrings. The focus should be on your face and not your accessories.
  3. Move on purpose – Your movements should be intentional and add emphasis to your presentation. You will gain more attention by standing still and directing your energy into your facial expression, voice, and gestures. A good time to move, a few steps to the left or right is during the transitions of your speaking points. This will help you keep your audiences’ attention and move them with you to your next idea.
  4. Project your voice – If people have to strain to hear you, they won’t for very long. Make sure the person in the back of the room is as engaged by your voice as the one in the front. You may need to lower the tone of your voice to help it travel farther.
  5. Acknowledge the distraction – Inevitably a loud air-conditioner will turn on at the moment you most need the attention of your audience or it could be a technical glitch that everyone notices. By drawing attention to the distraction with your words, you allow your audience to admit they were distracted and everyone can move forward together. Otherwise, they spend time wondering if you even heard it or how you could have possibly ignored it, taking their attention away from you and your message.

Paying attention to your presentation–in all its parts–will allow your audience to return the favor.

Make better presentations with the Presentation Renovation eBook