I read a short and sweet post on the SAMBA Blog the other day about The Secret to Great Presentations. Their answer for a great presentation? To figure out the one change you want people to make as a result of your presentation and sell the audience on the one thing.
Do you agree?
If you have any mileage on your body whatsoever (over age 30), you have endured many PowerPoint presentations. Some good, but most very bad. Most of the presenters probably just turned and read the slides to you. This is after you, of course, had already read them. When they are on bullet point #1, you have already read down to bullet point #10. Most of us sit through these presentations because we have to, we can't sneak out, or we are hoping to glean a nugget of useful information and will suffer to end waiting for it.
Now that I am on the "presenter" side of the podium and projector, I took a vow NOT to be the guy that bored the audience stiff by just reading, word-for-word, each slide. Then 'click' to the next slide and repeat. I also swore not to use all the "nifty" PowerPoint gadgets to Zoom/Flip/Turn/Wipe words on to the slide.
So that's why I agree with SAMBA's thoughts are what makes a good presentation and presenter.
In his book, The Exceptional Presenter, Tim Koegel talks about the five components of any presentation. The very first component it to begin with a purpose. Obviously, that makes great sense and there are a million books out there that tell you to do the same thing. What Koegel does, is give you a very practical, relaxed approach to accomplish this as you begin your presentation. He suggests completing the following sentence:
"If you remember just one thing as you leave here today, remember this…"
Seems so simple. But I have used it a number of times and everyone knows what they are about to learn, what they need to listen for, and what to remember when we finish. By completing the sentence, you, as the presenter, identify the most relevant and mission critical information of the presentation. Then, as you build your presentation, you should never lose sight of that one thing. It's your purpose.
Delivering the purpose statement at the beginning of the presentation will keep the audience focused on your key points. If you tell people what they are about to hear, they are more likely to actually hear it. The more defined the purpose, the easier it is to frame your message around it and stick with it. Just define those 1, 2, or 3 key points in more details and you'll have a fantastic and memorable presentation.