When folks go through our presentation skills classes, they are often surprised at how simple we make designing and delivering fairly complex presentations. In fact, one of the things that we cover in the Fearless Presentations class is how to design an entire presentation, from start to finish, complete with a slide deck in fifteen minutes or less. Class members are often shocked at how fast they can design presentations that would have typically taken hours (or weeks) to complete. Below is a simple checklist that you can use when you design PowerPoint presentations in order to speed up the preparation time and reduce your fear of public speaking.
Presentation Skills Checklist
- Step One: Start with the Presentation (what you want to say) and finish with the slideshow. Most people start with the visual aids and, eventually, realize they have too many slides or too many points and start cutting content. So they end up with a Swiss-Cheese presentation. Start with the presentation first, then choose slides that help you better explain the content.
- Step Two: Choose a Compelling Topic (Title). Pretend that you are an audience member, and ask yourself what you'd what to hear about related to the topic. This is more difficult than you might think, because, since we know so much about the topic, we tend to want to tell the audience EVERYTHING that we know. However, that is not practical, so you have to give the audience only what they need, right now. For instance, if you are giving a financial report to the board, they are going to want to know about profit, but if you are giving a report to the sales team, they will be more interested in revenue compared to prior years. think of your audience when you choose your topic.
- Step Three: Choose three to five key points to expand upon. Literally... three, four, or five points... TOTAL. Thinking about your topic, choose your key points by determining what are the three to five most important concepts related to the topic that the audience needs to know about. If you cover more points, the audience won't remember them anyway, so focus on the most important points.
- Step Four: Insert Proof for each Point. Insert a few stories, examples, facts, analogies, demonstrations, or samples that prove that your key point is true. If you prove each point along the way, then the group will very easily agree with your conclusion at the end of the presentation.
- Step Five: Now Create Your Slides: Once you have the speech designed, now go back and choose visual aids to better explain your content.
Follow this checklist, and you will be able to create any presentation very quickly.