This post is part of a series of posts aimed at PMO professionals ahead of my keynote Public Speaking Demystified at the Future PMO Conference on October 17th in Hammersmith.
In an earlier post in this series, I mentioned the importance of having a foundational idea behind every speech or presentation. While having a clear and well-structured idea is a great first step to preparing a solid presentation to clients, colleagues or outsiders. Not being clear on what your presentation is seeking to achieve can leave your audience confused and reduce your credibility and impact as a presenter.
Every idea and every concept no matter how great it is. Can be presented in many diverse ways. Witness for example how comedians seem to be able to make fun of almost anything, including complicated topics. If your foundational idea is the ‘why’ of your presentation or talk. What you are looking to achieve is its ‘what’ and the more specific you are, the better. If you are updating colleagues on the status of a project. Ask yourself what you will be updating them on and what specific information you want to communicate. Being specific will help you focus your message on what matters the most. It will also help you define your objectives for your talk or presentation.
This is especially important if you are asked to sell a project, communicate bad news or persuade others. If you are very passionate about a subject, you will tend to speak volumes about it. However, less is often more and defining specific objectives for your presentations will enable you to focus on the essentials of your message.
How to achieve your objectives
Clarity on what you are seeking to achieve will help you structure your speech or presentation for maximum impact. There are many ways to structure a speech or a presentation, this topic will be the subject of another blog post very soon. However, two presentations with very different objectives will likely benefit from using distinct structures. For example, if you are looking to sell a project or product, adopting a compares and contrast structure can help you showcase its benefits. If you are communicating bad news, storytelling could be a useful tool if used well. For generic informational status update, a 3 points structure may be very effective and appropriate. Don’t forget however that what makes sense to you may not make sense to someone else
This is why defining what you want to achieve can also help you see your presentation from the perspective of your audience. The more you know about your potential audience and its members. The easiest it will be for you to tailor your content based on how your audience might react. This is especially crucial if your objective is challenging such as persuading others or delivering bad news. There, anticipating difficult questions that may arise from your presentation will save yourself from potential embarrassment.
Stay tuned for more blog posts ahead of next month’s event. I will be covering many techniques to craft pitch-perfect presentations during my keynote ‘Public Speaking Demystified’ on October 17. Why don’t you join me at FuturePMO 2019 – Book tickets now