Uncommon presentation advice for uncommon results

Whatever your specific leadership role, I am confident you find yourself in the role of presenting to others — at least on occasion. And if that is true, I’m guessing you would like to do it more effectively and more persuasively.

These are good goals. Yet too many people present just like everyone else; which of course, gives you the same results they got.

Today I have some uncommon advice designed to get you uncommon (read much better) results.

Here you go.

More focus, less scatter. If you can’t put the key concepts and ideas of your talk on the back of an envelope or on one side of a 3×5 card, your message is too scattered. Hone in on your key message; know exactly what it is. Clearly know what your desired outcome is, and build the entire presentation around this outcome. If you don’t know it, how can you expect your audience to know (or remember) it?

HR Memos D

More audience, less you. Your presentation isn’t for you or about you; it is for and about your audience. So, put your focus where it belongs! Worry less about how you look or sound and more about helping them understand your message. If your focus is all about you, stop reading — none of these points will help you. A presentation should always be about the audience — if it isn’t it has no prayer of being persuasive.

More you, less PowerPoint. Let’s face it, too many people use PowerPoint as a teleprompter or a crutch to overcome lack of preparation (more on this later). PowerPoint is a visual aid, that is it. You can always be more persuasive than slides, regardless of how slick or cool they are or which font you use.

More visuals, less words. One of the reasons we read our slides is that we have too many words on them! Your PowerPoint presentation has too many words on every slide — and you likely have too many slides. Cut, cut, cut the words. Visual aids should be visual.

More emotion, less logic. It takes more than logic to move people. Give your audience the facts they need, but don’t overload them. Make sure you speak to the emotion of an issue, not just the facts. Talk about why, and not just how.

More stories, less “facts.” We read books, watch TV and buy movie tickets because we love stories. When you create stories around your presentation or include relevant and passionate stories as a part of your presentation, you will be more successful. Time spent developing and polishing these stories is time well-invested.

More preparation, less “I’ll wing it.” Giving an effective presentation takes preparation and planning time. Too many people give poor presentations because they simply rely on their slides and muddle through. If the outcome isn’t worth the preparation time, maybe the presentation doesn’t need to be given.

More belief, less bluster. Let your passion for your topic, your message and your recommendations show! If you believe in your message, let people know that through your words, actions, body language, energy and more.

More you, less facade. No, this isn’t in conflict with the last point; you will be a more effective presenter when you are real, genuine and sincere. Drop the posturing and be real. Your audience will appreciate it, and they will listen and trust you more and ultimately you will be more persuasive.

You’ve just read nine pieces of uncommon advice. But reading them isn’t enough. You need to apply at least one of them to your next presentation. When you do, you will be more confident and will achieve more of the results you desire.

Remarkable Principle: Remarkable leaders know that to present persuasively they will need to use uncommon approaches to get remarkable results.