You need to write a presentation – the logical question? Where to start? Even the most experienced presenter runs up against this. Is it writer’s block? Probably not. You just need a new way to start. Getting the creative juices flowing today may be completely different than it was yesterday. You know your audience and their needs, now it’s time to start planning. Following are a few of the techniques professional speakers and top executives use to prepare a message.
Modify a former presentation
Many presentations start at this exact place. You don’t have to recreate the wheel, especially when you or your organization have given great presentations on similar topics in the past. The message will have to be customized to the needs of your new audience, but often a good lecture can be pieced together from one or more presentations. If you are using PowerPoint, it is very easy to use the slide sorter, choose the best slides and reorder them to suit the topic at hand.
Start with a story
Think about a story that would engage your audience and connect with your topic. Every speaker should be an avid collector of stories and factoids. I recently heard an interesting story while visiting a vineyard that illustrates the good that can be found in any situation, no matter how dire it appears. Finding just the right story is often the inspiration you will need to further develop your message.
Grab a blank sheet of paper
You may laugh. You thought the blank sheet of paper was the problem. Sometimes, that is just where you have to start, but you need a plan. Brainstorm the key points that you want to communicate on that sheet of paper. Step back and then choose the 3-5 points from that sheet of paper that are most important to convey to your audience. You will then be able to take each of those topics and begin outlining supporting facts, evidence, statistics, analogies, metaphors, definitions and examples. Soon, you will have a complete framework for your presentation. Of course, you don’t need to use an actual sheet of paper; I often start with a blank Word or PowerPoint file.
Get some help
Two heads are always better than one. Pull together a group of colleagues and explain the needs of your audience and your presentation objectives. Allow everyone to contribute and fully explore all ideas; you never know where the craziest idea may end up. That may be the one concept that ultimately leads to a standing ovation.
Don’t become too concerned with your handouts or screen presentation when you are developing your key message. First and foremost, you want a solid message that resonates with your listeners and will cause them to take action.
How do you inspire your presentation writing? Share your ideas in the comments!
After completing the Communicate to Win workshop, you will have the most compelling argument and the best ideas. With this complete package, you will gain the tools necessary to guarantee that you have the best ideas and that you can present them confidently so you will WIN. Read what participants say.
photo by Katrina Snaps. Used by permission.