How to Give a Presentation in Nine Words Part 1

November 13th, 2013
by Flickr user IntelFreePress

by Flickr user IntelFreePress

I had a great conversation at the PRSA 2013 International Conference with Mike Neumeier, principal of Arketi Group. Let me clarify: I was engaged in a conversation with Mike and about 75 other people in the room during his session, “How to Give a Presentation in Nine Words.”

Mike’s overarching theme was that a presentation should be a similar to a conversation; it should be a talk between you and the people in the room. For most of us who aren’t natural presenters this can be tricky, especially when our presentation, or “talk,” involves a room full of strangers or – even more distracting – a virtual audience. His advice: don’t treat your presentation like a lecture, treat it like a talk. Whatever your topic, imagine having a conversation about something important you want to explain to a friend.

Research your topic before starting an outline. You have to know what you’re talking about. Understanding or becoming an expert on your topic or idea before starting your outline is key to developing a compelling presentation.

Once you have your big idea, write it down and refer to it as you work through your outline. Jot down notes to complete your points. Use those points to support your idea.

Key to accomplishing a successful outline is to step away from technology. Go old school and use pencil and paper to create your outline. You can’t create a compelling presentation using tools such as Power Point, Key Note, or Prezi. These presentation platforms have their place, but much later in the process. Until you have a well-developed outline, these shouldn’t be used as a source for developing content.

Stepping away from technology has another advantage: it eliminates distractions created from checking email, or voicemail, allowing for better concentration. Neumeier asked us think about a great conversation we had with a friend, coworker or prospective client. During our conversation, were they checking their email, posting to Facebook, or tweeting? Probably not; the reason our conversation was memorable was because their focus was on us, not technology.

Once you’ve done all your thinking offline, it’s time to crack open your laptop. Check back tomorrow for Neumeier’s tips on creating presentation slides. Until then, keep in mind that it’s not about great-looking slides on Power Point, Key Note, or Prezi; your presentation is about developing great ideas that will win people over while using slides to support those ideas.

One Response to “How to Give a Presentation in Nine Words Part 1”

  1. […] Flachman attended the session and provided her thoughts in a recent post. Check out the snippet below on Jennifer’s key takeaways from the […]

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