Talking your way to the top necessitates acquiring superior presentation skills. If you can't communicate your ideas concisely to others so that they buy into your message, you're giving up on your potential. Here are 6 "C's" to help you create effective content.
1. Be CLEAR in your intended outcome
"If you can't write your message in a sentence, you can't say it in an hour." Dianna Booher
Good presentations are not mystery novels - don’t hide the major objective/point of your presentation and keep them waiting for it (especially to senior management!) As journalists say: Don't bury the lead! In other words, don't leave what's important to the end!
Focus on your purpose, core message, bottom line: what you want your attendees to take away and act upon. If you give your conclusion first, they know right away what the most important take away message is and that the rest of the presentation (the secondary points, facts and examples) is built on that main premise.
2. COMMUNICATE your main complex points or concepts simply
People don't want more information. They want faith in you, your goals, your success, in the stories you tell." - Carmen Gallo
Avoid speaking using abstractions. Communicate to them in a way that is easily understood by sharing personal experiences, and examples within your stories. Provide opportunities for stimulation, human engagement and emotional connection with flesh and blood examples.
3. CHECK IN with the group periodically
"People don't remember what you think is important, They remember what they think is important." - John Maxwell
Use the art of questioning either rhetorical, giving them valid reason to reflect, or open-ended ones that allows them to openly answer. It keeps them mentally and emotionally engaged and creates a "conversation' between you and your audience.
4. CONNECT the dots for your listeners
"A transition is the glue that holds the speech together." - Craig Valentine
Check for comprehension before moving on to next point in order to ensure they are still with you and will keep them with you. Transitions from one point to the next are the most neglected part of speeches. Effective transitions remind them where they were in the previous point and entice them on wanting to listen to your next point by stating either what they want to avoid and its negative consequencs or what they want to attain and its benefits (FYI an entire chapter in my book is on Transitions, and how to use them effectively)
5. Use CONCRETE language
"Naturally sticky ideas are stuffed full of concrete words and images." - Chip Heath
Provide practical logical application specifics or techniques for your audience. Rather than just stating "why" they need to do something but also "how" by discussing your observations and recommendations based on your knowledge and experiences.
6. Establish a COMMON ground
"People don't care how much you know, they want to know how much you care." - Zig Ziglar
Use inclusive language - 'we' rather than 'I' establishing similarities with them while identifying and emphasizing your common ground respectfully and sincerely. By doing this, you bond with them heading towards a common goal together with rewards for them individually at the micro level and the company as a whole at the macro level.
Remember: regardless of how important or valuable your content is, if you don't present it in a way that sparks and maintains your audience's attention, you will lose them. With the privilege of speaking comes a responsibility to present your content that is focused on and structured around the bottom line while at the same time, emotionally and intellectually stimulating, promising rewards or results for them at the micro level and also at the company's macro level...a WIN/WIN for all!!
I invite you to join me again next month when we continue discussing Business Presentations with the focus on developing a Solid Structure
Until then, happy speaking and happy new yearto you and yours!