A well-organized, thoughtful presentation that speaks to the intended audience is the best bet for making a long-lasting impact. Make sure you spend enough time to organize, develop and think through your content. In The Power Presenter: Technique, Style, and Strategy from America’s Top Speaking Coach, author Jerry Weissman offers 7 steps for developing an effective presentation.
- Establish the framework of your presentation: Define your objective.What is your call to action? What does your audience need to know in order to respond to your call to action?
- Brainstorm: Consider all the possibilities. Distill all your ideas into a few main themes.
- Create Roman Columns: Find a mnemonic device for your main themes. The classic Roman orators who spoke for hours without any notes used the marble columns of the Forum as prompts to help them remember what to say. Develop the Roman columns of your own story; about five or six in all is optimal.
- Structure the flow: Provide a road map for your audience and for yourself. Give the individual components of your story a meaningful, orderly flow. Two of the simplest and most common flow structures are chronological (track your story along a timeline) and numerical (combine all your Roman columns and assign them a number, then count down for your audience as you discuss each column).
- Use graphics: Use visual aids, but give your graphics their proper role as support for your narrative.
- Take ownership: Take charge of your own presentation. Become a hands-on presenter and supervise your presentation’s development at pivotal points.
- Practice the right way: In your rehearsals, speak the actual words of your presentation or speech aloud, just the way you will do it when you are in front of your intended audience. Verbalization crystallizes ideas.