I’ve been spending much of my time analyzing and studying some of the most impressive and impactful presentations that I’ve seen for awhile, trying to identify a generic structure or pattern that most effective presenters use.
Now, having dedicated a good deal of my time studying these some these speakers and cross-referencing them with others, I’m proud to announce that I’ve finally come up with a simple 3 step system that ANYONE can use to plan and organize their presentations!
Interested to know how you can add impact and become an impressive speaker? Then read on for the three simple steps to achieving congruent communication!
Step 1 – Knowing Your Audience
It is ALWAYS Crucial to know who you’re speaking to. What are your audience’s needs/wants? What do they want to know? What are they interested to find out? What concerns do they have? What do they want to hear?
Knowing what your audience want and care about is crucial for you to deliver value by addressing their concerns. It’s like a target board for you to aim at. Not only will you know what you’ll have to say in your speech, but when done well you will be commanding their undivided attention for the rest of the session!
The following are some questions you may wish to consider when conducting Audience Analysis:
1. Who are my Audience – What do they do? How old are they? What are they afraid of? What are they concerned about? What are the general characteristics of the group – ie women, men, husbands, wives, age group
2. What roles do they play – Are they husbands/wives, bosses/entrepreneurs/employees?
3. Are there any cultural discrepencies that I should take note off?
Step 2 – Knowing What You Want
Having a target is the first – Knowing where to aim on the target is the second. You don’t throw dart anywhere on the dart board, you want to hit a specific spot. Same goes when you’re playing pool/billiards. You must hit a specific part of the ball!
In the similar fashion, it is always important to know what exactly do you wish to achieve by the end of the presentation. Are you aiming to inform or educate? Sell a product or persuade? Motivate or Inspire?
Knowing what you want to achieve by the end of the presentation is always the key to planning and organizing presentation. After all, you must first know where you want to head to before you start your car and hit the roads!
Therefore, be as specific as possible. Setting the goals will help you determine the strategy to employ in your presentation. We will discuss that in the next point.
Step 3 – Planning the Presentation Proper
Now that you know what you want, it is time to direct your attention to getting it.
Most of us know the basic structure of a presentation. It is the Introduction, the Body and Conclusion. That’s simply enough isn’t it?
Yet, which one do we normally begin with? Perhaps, a better question would be which one should we begin with?
Most people usually begin with planning the introduction, or body. This is natural, considering that the Introduction is what we begin with when we present our speech, and the body containing much of the information/content to back us up.
However, having started with our goal in mind, it is crucial that we stay focused on our goal, and plan our presentation around it. In this instance, it is imperative that we start with the conclusion first.
If you’re trying to persuade or motivate, you might want to consider starting with a “call for action first”. Same goes if you’re trying to inspire. Or if you want to leave people on a high after delivering an after-dinner speech, then you might want to consider ending with an uplifting quote. There is no fixed way, however, it is important to stay anchored by working on the conclusion first.
Next part of planning comes your presentation body. Now that you’ve got your direction and focus, it’s time to mould your points in a manner that supports your conclusion. Ie, if you want people to buy 10 packets of Chrysanthemum Tea, you’re going to pretty much explain the rationale in the rationale body. Have your main points clearly stated and backed up and elaborated by supporting points. If you do it right, you would realise that your planning becomes much easier with a clear focus defined in your conclusion.
The last part of planning your speech proper involves (yes, you guessed it) the Introduction!
Start with an attention grabber that would capture that attention of your audience. Forget the Good Mornings, and Hellos. Going back to the “hellos” and “my name is…” are boring. They are elementary school stuff which another 500million people (who don’t visit my blog) are using right now. It’s boring and unimpressive.
Begin with a statistic or a market report. Begin with a startling statement if you want. Tell how powerful your clients are, and how much more they can be if they choose to stick with you. Start with a famous quote or words by famous people. Stuff like that!
Establish power or leverage on the power of the rich and famous! Make your audience sit up and take note of you!
Of course, your introductory words must be relevant to what you have to say in your speech. In this instances, it’s always imperative to ask if your words are in line with what you have to say next, and if they’re able to reinforce the purpose of your message.