In a good presentation, you are presenting useful and important ideas. In a great presentation, you are inviting your audience to join in, creating engagement and interaction.
There are various techniques that will help you set the stage for a more effective presentation. In short, best practices are a) understand how human thought and behavior work, and b) take concrete measures to let these things work for your presentation, rather than against it.
But what should your presentation be? What should the content consist of? And how should it convey its core ideas to its audience?
Know Your Big Ideas
Before you begin to structure your presentation, you should distill it down to a few important ideas. If you can’t break it down into a few core concepts, then it probably lacks a coherent message. Applying more thought and effort to the central thesis of your presentation will give it the beating heart that it needs to come alive.
Script It Out
Write out everything you plan to say, more or less verbatim.
First, create a rough draft. Although it may not be great, yet, you need to start somewhere, and your rough draft is that place. (Creativity coach Beth Lapides refers to the first draft as, “something to put a coffee ring on.” That’s all it needs to be.)
Then, edit, with vigor and ruthlessness. You can nitpick and fuss over your precise choice of words, to ensure your language is as economical and compelling as it can be.
This process can sometimes take a good amount of time. When you know your presentation is strong, it can be wise to quit while you’re ahead. Some presentations that sing on the 16th draft can turn flat on the 23rd. With time and experience, you will get better at knowing when your presentation is as good as it needs to be.
Create Your World
This is the step that often separates a great presentation from a good one.
Now that you know exactly what you want to say, translate those words and ideas into pictures, sounds, and feelings.
Then… forget the words.
Think of your presentation not as a static inventory of words and sentences you want to say, but as a three-dimensional word composed of pictures, sounds, and feelings. When you rehearse your presentation, practice living in this world. Keep practicing until you are comfortable and familiar with this world, able to explain your surroundings to others. (Comedian Greg Dean has a “rehearsal process” you can borrow.)
When it’s time to present, think of it as an opportunity to invite your guests into your world and show them around.
If you are not comfortable public speaking or presenting to a large group there are great resources to utilize to get you comfortable. Toastmasters is an international resource with chapters in many cities
When you live in the world you want to explain, you will have a far more powerful ability to transmit your ideas – and their emotional impact – to others.
At Artisan Creative, we believe in taking your work to the next level. Because if you’re reading this, you’re obviously ready to go “from good to great,” as a creative professional. Contact us today to take the next step.
We hope you enjoy the 474th issue of our a.blog.