When asked to give a presentation, consider using the four P’s of presentation steps to help you with your creation. The four P’s are: Plan, Prepare, Practice, and Perform. This article will address steps one and two, which are about planning and preparing the presentation.
1. During Plan, you will consider your audience and why you are giving the presentation along with what generally appeals to them and why they may want to know about your subject. You will determine with the person requesting the presentation how much time you will have and what type of visual aids may be relevant and usable at the location of final presentation. You can find some hints in the Briefing section of the book “R.A!R.A! A Meeting Wizards’ Approach” that aids in development of planning questions to ask during this step such as:
- When do I need to be there? Date of presentation with start/end times and location.
- Who will be there? Description of primary audience and names of decision makers.
- What will appeal to this audience and why do they want to know about this subject? Reason(s) presentation is necessary or relevant to this audience.
- What types of supporting documents and audio/visuals are preferred by audience? Items such as projection or handouts that is preferred by or available with this audience.
- How much of presentation time should be allowed for questions and answers at the end? Most presentations are followed by Q&A from audience to speaker and knowing the desired timeframe allows better time allotment of prepared speaking points.
2. Prepare your presentation by thinking about both the beginning and ending, and then add the detail in the middle that supports your strong start and end. Now that you know what to say and are aware of your visual aid limitation, think about how you can make the presentation memorable by developing any visuals that may accompany the presentation making sure their flow matches the presentation. When developing visuals, remember you don’t want people fumbling with handouts or noting spelling errors when they could be listening. When preparing, consider what the Presentation Plan form in the book “R.A!R.A! A Meeting Wizards’ Approach” suggests as possible outline questions for a briefing presentation:
- Why are we here? Reasons presentation is necessary or desirable at this time.
- What have we done? History, work, or statistics related to purpose or presentation.
- What do we plan to do? Possible future outcomes or actions as result of presentation or decision to be made based on presentation.
- What have we learned? Summary of presentation or recommendations.
- What have we to share? Stories, statistics, charts, or other data to prove points.
- What do we need? Resources to facilitate presentation and discussion or to accomplish actions.
With the Plan and Prepare steps, you have learned to ask questions to help you develop speaking points and visuals aids. To understand the Practice and Perform steps, see article on “Delivering Presentations”.