Creating a high-impact presentation requires careful planning. It’s really easy when you know the steps of a typical workflow in advance. Here are 10 easy steps to an awesome presentation.
1. Outline Your Storyboard
Sitting down first and figuring out your story flow will save you time later. What’s the fastest way to do this? Use a presentation storyboard. Focus on big ideas and turning points in your story. Outline what you are going to say. Plan how you are going to say it and show it. This will save you a lot of time. You won’t have to spin your wheels, get confused or race to get things done in time.
2. Get Coaching Now
Do you need help figuring out your important points and key ideas? Get help from a professional presentation coach. Ask for design coaching for advice on content, design, story and visuals. Early design coaching will save loads of time and unnecessary headaches. If you are feeling confused, now is the time to schedule a call with your coach.
3. Create Your Story
Your presentation needs to engage your audience and convey your message. Whether you are using slides, flipcharts, whiteboards, prezi, demos, iPads, or video, create a cross-media story. Make sure that your colors, themes and story are consistent. Organize your story to flow across any media you choose. This is important to know early on, especially if other people are helping you create sections of your presentation.
Speaking of other people…ask for help. Get assistance to organize a plan for doing all the bits you need. This includes researching information, writing copy, gathering appropriate images, checking facts, getting relevant statistics or building a template. Plus, figure out who will be helping you and to get them to commit to your timeline. Your storyboard helps you to determine what you need so that you can get coaching on design and process from the start.
4. Build a Prototype Presentation
Now it is time to start putting all the pieces together. Think of this prototype as a working draft. You’ll get to see what the overall flow looks, feels, and sounds like. Plus, you can identify any problem areas early on. The prototype also helps you create a ‘punch list’ so you know exactly what needs to happen to complete your entire presentation on time, and on budget.
5. Take a Test Run
Are you trying something out that you’ve never done before? Are you adding a whiteboard conversation for the first time? Are you putting your clicker down and using props? Do you need new technology to cooperate? If so, you need to take a test run to make sure things go the way you imagine. If you discover things that need adjustment, now is the time to make an alternate plan.
6. What Does Your Audience Get?
Are you providing handouts, placemats, or copies of your presentation? If you are using new methods to present, it is important to think about what will engage your audience. Giving a printout of slides is not highly engaging. Determine in advance what you want to provide each person in your audience.
For instance, if you are showing your story at the whiteboard, create a placemat with only some of the information written in. This partial-frame placemat encourages people to watch, learn and take notes-in real time. The key idea here is think about what will engage your audience.
7. Practice, Rehearse, and Refine
With your storyboard in hand, it’s time to practice your delivery skills. Show what you can do. Practice speaking in a conversational pace and tone. Speak with passion. Test your skills at the whiteboard. Make sure you are comfortable and confident with all your skills and tools.
Use photos, props and physical evidence to engage your audience. The more you practice and rehearse, the faster you’ll know what needs to be refined. Make small adjustments. Rinse and repeat.
8. Get Candid Feedback
Friends, family and peers will be polite. But polite support is not what you truly need. You need candid, professional feedback. The best way to get this? Ask your expert presentation coach. You may want to work face-to-face, or with virtual coaching sessions. Either way, ask for direct feedback. Then, be sure to listen and take notes. Now is the time to listen closely and make serious adjustments if needed.
9. Last-Minute Preparation
Practice all your technology-whether high-tech or low-tech. Know exactly what you need to set up in advance. Have all your tools ready to go. Prepare your environment for the exact setup you will use in real time. Laptop. Whiteboard. Handouts. Props. Organize your environment so it is easy for you to navigate.
10. Present With Confidence
With all your careful planning and preparation, you are ready to go. Take a deep breath. Be yourself. Go out and share your ideas. Speak with passion.
Presenting in front of groups is a critical part of every professional’s workday. With these 10 steps, you have a blueprint to build and deliver an awesome presentation. Go out and present with passion!