May 24, 2022
Have you ever faced projector issue, microphone issue, video getting stuck or speaker not working during presentation? Sometimes time is too short and other times people don’t pay attention, sometimes you are not comfortable other times you might have forgotten few details. I am sure everyone of us have had our share of such moments. An effective planning is one of the critical component in avoiding these issues and excelling in the facilitation.
In previous article I have shared how to BANG the presentation link is mentioned below. In this article I would like to share how to PLAN the Presentation. Other important aspects of the presentation to be covered in other articles soon. Let’s explore the PLANNING.
Planning for the presentation is of grave importance. Well prepared presenter not only appears more confident, but adds value to the audience within limited time and resources. Each person in the audience is not the same as s/he was before the presentation. They become a bit more than themselves in some sense after the presentation. If 20 people attend one-hour presentation, it’s not just one hours, it is 20 valuable human hours, which people are giving to the presenter. It is responsibility of the presenter to give value for time to attendees. With all this said, it’s worth PLANNING THE PRESENTATION.
I have designed a strategy for planning as “5 Wives and One Husband”. It’s not a polygamy propaganda; just a humorous convention to memorize the concept. 5 Wives stand for 5 “W”s and one Husband for one “H”.
WHY :- Why presentation is required, what is the purpose of it. What value will it add to audience, what do they need at this point of time. Is it to update the status to team, is it to report operational performance to management, need some decision from management, to highlight major security gaps, to inform progress of the project? The purpose, the big WHY is the first and foremost question one need to ask himself/herself before scheduling a presentation. Why someone should give us few hours of their precious life and what value we can add. Awareness of the purpose determines the next step, WHAT need to be presented.
WHOM :- What is of the key interest to the Top Management, may not be relevant to the Middle Management staff; what a trainee needs to understand may be different from the content presented to the Subject Matter Expert. Knowing to whom to facilitate the presentation enables one to optimally utilize the time by providing them the information they need in the format they understand effectively. Same topic, same content but different audience, will have totally different style of the presentation. Ultimate objective here is to enable them with the information in the form they understand and can utilize to perform their job better.
WHAT :- Based on the Purpose and to WHOM it need to be presented, decide the content. A good presentation is art of conveying the information which is required for the effective decision making and application, in the most efficient format. Understanding The Presenter’s level of understanding the content determines the effectiveness of the presentation. If for some reason you do not understand the content thoroughly, learn it. Its worth spending efforts. Command over the subject and deep understanding of the content builds the TRUST of audience on the presenter, and they do buy-in the concept ONLY if they TRUST the presenter.
HOW :- HOW is the delivery style which depends tremendously on above factors- WHY, WHAT and WHOM. There are various styles you may choose the apt one for your audience. Example -You may choose to tell the KPI performance in the form of a story, starting with Challenges, Baselines, Benchmarking, Targets, Initiatives and gradual improvement and ending with Way forward. Or you may let data speak by using statistical analysis or pictorial process flow presentation for customer processes. This is the most engaging aspect and thing HOW does your audience (WHOM) will under WHAT you feel need to understand (WHY). There are many style like storytelling, flow charts, picture, graphs, animation, scenario etc.
To make complex things simple is an art and shows the expertise over the subject. Make the content simple, easy to understand, easy to interpret and able to utilize it. Use charts, graphs, pictures wherever possible and minimize words. Use any style, but make sure dots are connected.
WHEN :- Timing is everything. Try to be in the right place at the right time. Do you think people are more attentive on an evening before the weekend or at the beginning of week? Sr. Manager is going on vacation or has just returned from a business trip and you show up with report of losing another customer to the competitor. You can imagine the response. Think what is the right time to present, dry run in your mind and see what time would you be more receptive to the information. There is not stone written rule however based on my experience I recommended not to have presentation, (if possible) just before weekend, holidays, immediately after holidays, immediately before or after long public holidays, after lunch (everyone will sleep, trust me, I have experienced it from both sides). Based on my observation, from 2nd half of the 1st day of the week to the first half of a day before weekend people are more receptive. If wider audience is invited especially from the operations. Everyone cannot attend at the same time, try to keep multiple session on different day/ weeks.
WHERE :– Logistics arrangements are most ignored and one cause the most issues during the presentation. If it’s known location, check all required items are operating properly. If it’s a new location, try to visit the venue in advance and make yourself comfortable with technical requirements, ambiance, stage, space for movement etc. If using power point, check if colors are appearing correctly as required on the projector. Arrange stationary requirements. This is very trivial however causes most discomfort and distractions.
Presentation is an art to communicate information, that need to be conveyed for effective utilization of it, in the most efficient way. Doing justice to the time of audience is sheer responsibility of the Presenter which s/he can accomplish in the best possible way by proper planning. Plan does not grantee 100% success but is increases the probability of success by many folds.
Here I have shared my learning from hundreds of silly failures and good practices that enabled me to effectively present. Presentation is not about Power Point slides, Presentation is a way of expression, everything else is just a tool. More relevant, concise, precise, understandable and timely the presentation is, the audience engagement and prospect of applying the information will be higher.
Thank you for spending your valuable time in reading it, really appreciate it. Please practice these approaches and share your experience. Share suggestion on how to plan the Presentation effectively, practices that worked for you and what you learned from failures. Please share, it might help someone in Planning the Presentation.