What’s the idea behind your presentation?

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.

We’ve all sat through boring presentations be it at meetings or conferences. Part of what makes a presentation boring are poor uses of PowerPoint. Poor delivery skills from the presenter can also play their part. Imagine listening to ten minutes of monotone voice for example. However, an often-overlooked driver behind poor presentations is a lack of clarity regarding their content. A lot of speeches and presentations lack a foundational idea, they lack a clear ‘why’.

Why should I listen to you?

Time is a very valuable commodity, and if you expect somebody to actively listen to you for even a quarter of an hour. There needs to be a compelling reason for them to do so. After all, some of the information you’ll be presenting might easily exist elsewhere. Worse, your audience may have sat through similar presentations on the same subject before. It is very easy to lose the battle for attention. Which is why having a foundational idea matters a lot!

Your foundational idea will be the reason why your audience will be tuning in to your speech. If it is to update them on the progress of a project. Make sure that your update stands out on its own and that unique information is given to the audience. If the project is going well, your foundational idea should emphasize it. If the project isn’t going so well, your foundational idea could be to explain what went wrong. Don’t go overboard with your central idea, as you should be able to explain it in a single sentence!

Structuring your idea

Once you have a clear idea of what you’re going to present. You need to structure it in a way that enhances its strength and meet your needs. We will talk about the importance of identifying your presentation objectives in a later post. But meanwhile, all I can say is that the best idea in the world can become worthless if it is used in the wrong way. For example, if you need to persuade your audience to adopt a proposal or project plan. The burden of the proof falls on you and not persuading with power could lead to your idea being forgotten.

A good way to structure your idea is to ask yourself a few questions. Firstly, why will you be doing this presentation and not someone else? The reasons may be prosaic but they will help you determine which unique touches you could bring to it and the idea presented. Secondly, why are you presenting this idea or subject? If you are a subject matter expert then you have a chance to bring unique insights and stories into your presentations. If you are passionate about it, this will help your delivery and confidence. There are many more questions you can ask yourself. It may seem like a strange thing to do, but structuring your idea will help you structure your presentation better.

I will be covering more techniques on this during my keynote on October 17. Why don’t you join us at FuturePMO 2019 – Book tickets now

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