Do you want to ensure success in your presentations? Start by the end
That is it: if you want to have a success presentation, first show your last slide. In our school and academic background, we have learned to leave to the end the most important part of our ideas. The so-called conclusion, or “to top it (all) off” is, in fact, the big interest of who is watching your presentation. For this very reason, it is from there that we should start.
This may sound a little weird, but if you try, you will see that, by instantly revealing where you want to get with your presentation, you will immediately gain the interest and attention of key-people. Another benefit is that with this strategy you will become much more objective and your presentation will be much shorter – what, nowadays, is definitely a competitive advantage.
It is increasing in organizations the pressure for more results in less time. A presentation should not have more than 10 slides. In many cases, it should have only 3! There are companies where a presentation does not last more than 5 minutes! It is absolutely impossible to make it in this time if you have prepared a whole lot of screens to project.
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What should guide the structuring of your speech is the clarity of what your objectives are at the end of that meeting. What do you expect people to know as soon as you finish talking? What is more important to be remembered? What can be more useful and interesting for the ones who will be listening to you?
In 90% of the times, details of the idea, the technology you have chosen to develop the project and the amount of information you have raised are unnecessary. It is very common professionals mix up quality of work with quantity of slides in a presentation. What is most important is show the results (what you have achieved or intend to achieve if the project has not yet been implemented). Yes, details will be useful, but not for strategic presentations. They will be important for a small number of people, normally the own project working group, besides serving for the process memory and for your own control.
So, cut from your presentation long tables and detailed graphics which many times are impossible to be read and deciphered by the ones in the audience. Focus on the big numbers that show the cost vs. benefit ratio of the project, which must be written in a very readable way and nicely high-lighted in diagramming.
Summarize the steps of the project and focus on the consequences it has brought for the business. This is what people want to hear about. The rest, well, the rest is really the rest…