In this age of the sound bite, we stop listening after hearing seven words? So...get comfortable with silence!

DESIGNING CONTENT – Light my fire!

How do you prepare a presentation? If you are like many people, the common approach is to begin at the beginning…

“How do I start? What information do I want to present?”

First we scramble to organize reams of material so it will flow logically, so we can fit it all in, so we can provide loads of information. Because that is what we think is important.

We end up sure that those 30 slides are essential to our success. And the die is cast. How many of us, as audience members, have been subjected to death by PowerPoint? How often do we have to struggle to stay focused as a deluge of information comes at us?

Yes, we have access to a wealth of information. The problem is that many people done’t know how to start and worse, don’t know where or how to stop. We offer it all, hoping that somehow, some of what we say will stick.

The place to start is to know what you are there for. Your job as a presenter is never to simply provide information. If that is your reason for being in front of your audience, then save everybody time and send an email.

Your job, as a presenter, is to light fires in people.

How? Try this … begin with the why.

  • What specific actions do you want your audience to take because of seeing your presentation?
  • How exactly do you want them to think differently?
  • What exactly do you want them to do differently?
  • What fire do you want to set within each person, so that they leave your presentation determined to think … be … do … in a new way?

We gather in meetings and presentations, not to get more information, but with the secret hope that in coming together our world might look a little different. So next time you present, remember this – your audience is looking for your humanity, not just your information.

Knowing why you are there and what change you want to create gives you access to you power as a communicator. The information then becomes a vehicle for you to make a difference, with these people, right now.

What come next, after the Why? Solve problems. Tell authentic stories that illuminate and give real meaning to your solutions.

Want to know more about the solving problems part? Stay tuned for my next blog post.

Have questions or a desire/need to elevate your communication and presentation skills? Contact Valerie now at valerie@standanddeliver.ca.