Have a Message When You Present

Anytime you give a presentation, it is important to have a message

While this sounds like such a basic and obvious concept, how many times have you sat through a presentation or meeting and walked out, wondering, “What was the point of that?
A message can be defined as the one sentence that sums up your presentation.  Think of it as the headline or a billboard.  What is the one message, the main point, that you want people to take away from your presentation?

The audience can't remember everything from your presentation.  They are not going to remember all of the details. They will remember the core message if you make it easy for them to understand.

Connect All Your Content to Your Message
Once you have the message planned, it is important that all of your content, every story, example and data point, is relevant to it. If it isn’t, don’t use it.

If you are preparing your material and you think, “I really should show them this graph,” or “I really should share with them that example from one of our clients,” or “I really should tell them about our sales numbers last quarter,” make sure it passes the message test.

Does it relate to your message? Does it support your message? If it doesn’t, don’t use it.

You can have the extra material with you if someone has a question or asks for more data.  You can hand it out later or send it as pre-work, but you don’t want to spend your precious presentation time talking about things that are tangential or that might distract your audience from your message.

When you finish your presentation, everyone in the audience should be able to give approximately the same answer, in their own words, to the question, “what was the point of that presentation?” For example, “The point of that was to convince us this company has good management and good financials, and we should invest in it,” or “The point was to convince us that unless we change the way we are handling our processes, we are not going to make our numbers this quarter.”

The next time you have to present, make sure you have a clear message and that everything in your presentation connects to it.
by Gilda Bonanno www.gildabonanno.com
Gilda Bonanno's blog www.gildabonanno.blogspot.com