Six Keys for a Successful Presentation or Dye Your River Green

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What’s more “Chicago” than a bright green river and a parade, all on the same day! As St. Patty’s Day is just a few day away, Chicagoans will be in celebration mode all weekend. I forgot to check the city’s event calendar and scheduled myself for an architecture tour this Saturday; needless to say I’ll be navigating the party-goers. 

Tapping into resources like Presentation Zen for guidance and “how to” advice to develop a remarkable presentation can be very helpful. Possibly elevating your presentation to the next level; maybe even close the deal on the spot. Leverage your presentation (and speech) for professional success and personal fulfillment with these six key elements.

Story: The Narrative Imaging. Everyone has a story to tell. All of us will listen to a story. The best storytellers are those who input their own personality, character and experiences into the material in a form of narrative. Yes, even business presentations can have a personality; it should be the company’s personality.

Design: More than Decoration. Developing the design of the presentation should come after the storyboarding (outline) stage. Colors, graphics, images, fonts and charts/tables should add visual emphasis to the content. Not just mere ornamentation. The visual theme should be regarded as part of the overall messaging process.

The Big Picture. When you look through the view finder of your camera, you see the larger view. Look some more and you’ll begin to focus on the details. What’s important? What matters? Focus on the key message.

Empathy: Be Human. Can you add emotion to your presentation + speech? The best stories are those that grab our emotions. Look for non-verbal cues to add emphasis.

Play: Be Willing to Laugh at Yourself. This can be tricky, because telling joke can backfire. Being authentic (aka human) can build a real connection with your audience and keep them interested.

Meaning: Where’s Your “Why”. Where’s the passion? Have you given this presentation + speech so many times that your enthusiasm is waning? Go back to the Big Picture and ask yourself “why?” (Hat tip to Simon Sinek)

Do you attend professional networking events? Or, pitch nights? How many times have you pulled out your smartphone and began checking your emails or catching up on headlines because you lost interest? 

There’s a lesson for all of us. 

The core of my creative services is working with professionals to improve their presentations. I offer a free review of your existing presentation and an evaluation with recommendations.