“A simple guide you can read in one sitting, to which I am sure you will take away few pointers. These were mine. Look at the audience as the hero of your idea or presentation and yourself as the mentor, and know your stakeholders in the room and write your presentation to the subgroup or person who has the most influence. Presenting to executives? Use the 10% rule of thumb – 50 slides in the appendix means 5 summary slides, and no more than 1-2 slides per minute. When it comes to your idea, make sure you have your point of view and what’s at stake. In addition, all presentation must include emotional content, no matter how cerebral your topic or audience is. In crafting your message, the most skilled communicators create conflict by juxtaposing what is and what could be – and it will matter to them when your message hits them in the gut. A personal story said with conviction creates that audience connection, as a result of revealing your own challenges and vulnerability. Do narrate the story as if you are still in the moment, and the more you can paint a picture and describe sounds, smells, tastes, the better it is.
An audience has a presentation tolerance of 30-40 minutes; ensure you plan content for 60% of your time slot. In addition, your audience can only listen or read your slides, design your slides so people can get in three seconds. White space is good, as it creates a feeling of luxury. If you find yourself with a lot of data to present, explain the ‘what’, ‘why’ and ‘how’. Rehearse is core to success, your audience will know if you wing it, and give yourself at least 30 minutes to setup. During your delivery, pauses are important; it gives a chance to your audience to reflect. Finally, do not end your presentation with Q&A, it will feel incomplete to your audience; wrap-up the discussion with a brief summary that re-caps the ‘new bliss’.”