Five Tips to Develop an Effective Business Presentation
Your goal is to develop and deliver an engaging and effective business presentation. However, if you’re like many professionals I’ve met over the years, developing an effective business presentation can be a daunting task. When you sit down to start writing, you will likely have dozens of thoughts racing through your head about what you want to tell your audience or what you think they need to know. You may spend hours or days trying to figure out what to say first. If this sounds familiar, you’re not alone. Many professionals have admitted to struggling with content development.
The first thing to consider is that the first two minutes of your presentation will determine whether or not anyone will listen to what you have to say. You need to grab your audience’s attention right away, or they will likely check out. While that may not make you feel any better about where to start, it’s important to note that getting started is always the hardest part. Once you know how to begin, the rest of your presentation will fall into place.
The following tips will help you develop an effective business presentation:
1. Stop. My first suggestion for people with thoughts swirling around in their head about what they want to tell their audience and what they think the audience needs to know is: Stop. Stop thinking about what you want to say and start thinking like a member of your audience. Put yourself in their position. Why is the information that you have good for them? What is their ultimate benefit of attending your presentation?
Often people will tell me “they just need to know this information.” Unfortunately, that isn’t a good reason. Ask yourself, “Why do they need to know it?” Will your information help them be more efficient? Save them time? Save them money? How will knowing the information or understanding the concept you are presenting improve their lives? Understanding your audience, discovering how you can help them and stating their goal up front is the first step in accomplishing your goal of delivering a dynamic presentation.
2. Identify their pain. The next step is to state your attendees’ current situation. Why are they attending your presentation? What pain or problem are you going to help them solve? Identifying their situation proves that you understand them. It pulls them further into your presentation by demonstrating that you know what problems they are experiencing and that you are going to offer solutions.
3. What topics will you cover? Now that you know your audience and have determined what’s important for them, you can begin to figure out what 2-4 topics are necessary to cover. Chances are you’ve been given a short amount of time to cover a lot of information. Determining what information you can skip or eliminate will be key to your success. Keep in mind that if you skip something that is important to a particular segment of your audience, they can always ask questions.
4. Focus on value. For each of your key attendee topics, come up with three value statements. The point of a value statement is to make these individuals shake their head “yes” in agreement with you. At the bottom of each slide or at the end of each point, you should remind your audience why this information is good for them, or of the value it brings to their team. Doing this makes it very easy for them to understand exactly what’s in it for them. It keeps them engaged and lets them know that you know what they need and understand their situation.
5. Take action. You won’t deliver this information until the end of your presentation, but knowing what your outcome needs to be before you begin will help shape your content. You’ll need to define what you want people to do immediately after your presentation. What are your goals? What do you want to accomplish? You don’t have to assign the action steps in advance, but have an idea of who in your audience should be responsible for what. This will help you further focus on the goals and keep the whole presentation on track.
Find out how our business presentation skills training programs can help you develop and deliver and effective business presentation.