How to Make Impactful Presentations

Even though you may be on stage when you are making a presentation, it is your audience that deserves the focus. They don't care about you - at best they only care about how you can "solve their problem" - at worst, they want to be entertained.

Changing focus to the audience doesn't happen by accident - it requires preparation, both before and after the presentation itself:

Before the presentation

Ensure that you really understand the audience and their objectives. Answering a few simple questions can make a huge difference: Why are they there? Do they have to be? What are they hoping to learn or accomplish, as a result of listening to you?

Of course, if your presentation is worth giving, it is worth rehearsing: your style and fluency should help deliver your message, not hinder it.

At the end of the presentation

The purpose of your audience is not to be a "receptacle" for your ideas, nor are they there to feed your ego. The mark of a successful presentation is one that causes something to happen: mindsets are changed, action is created, or decisions are made. So why not end the meeting with a focus on action? Here are a few ideas:

Challenge each attendee to commit to doing one thing based on what they each learned.

Ask each pair of people to share with eachother their most important take-away from the presentation.

Ask each person to write down an idea that you will compile and circulate.

Gain agreement, as a group, as to the next steps and responsibilities.

While all of these ideas apply to group presentations, they are equally applicable in small group meetings, networking meetings, and even one-on-one meetings with your manager or staff.

This week's action item: Run through these ideas prior to your next group meeting or presentation. It's all about your audience: what you do before and after can change a good presentation into an impactful one.



Copyrights 2009, all rights reserved to Dot Technology