I am getting a little worried. Now the book is finished and is with the publishers, I have had time to read posts in many other blogs on presenting. Most are very good, and offer great advice. However, there are quite a lot of blogs out there that appear – to me anyway – to be over complicating what should be a simple, business communication tool – ie the presentation.
Presenting is a very common business communication method. We use it to tell potential customers about our products, to give our staff details about new initiatives and we can use them for training our staff. Yet, many well intentioned bloggers are posting more and more complicated ways of presenting.
Lets get real for a moment. The average business executive does not have a spare 60 hours to prepare for a presentation. Perhaps Steve Jobs has that time available, but your average salary man / woman is being paid to do a job, and that job is not spending two weeks preparing for a presentation to a staff meeting.
So, here’s my suggestion for a four hour preparation time presentation:
1. Spend 30 minutes brainstorming ideas – I know some presentation coaches think brainstorming is not a great idea, but I think it is still the best way to get your ideas out and onto something you can organise.
2. Spend another 30 minutes organising your ideas into the points and stories you want to tell your audience.
3. Spend one hour designing and preparing your presentation slides – remember images beat text every time – so keep the text to a minimum and the images to a maximum.
4. Practice, practice and practice again for the next two hours.
Now, this is not a method I would follow if I was preparing a presentation that would be career changing, but for a regular staff meeting / training session or a product update presentation, then really there is no need to spend any longer on this.
Presentations should be simple and easy to understand. Our audiences have a very short attention span, so complicated, long winded presentations do not work today, So keep it simple, keep to the point and go out there and enjoy yourself. After all, you are only doing what comes naturally to humans – communicating.