How to Create and Deliver an Impactful Presentation

 

Lesson Info

Preparing Logistics

There's two things that we're going to go through in this preparation section. Now that we know what kinds of decks we're going to be creating, the red, yellow, and the green, let's look at how we prepare some things for that. The two things that we're going to be preparing can be categorized into logistics and content. Now, logistics is everything about the presentation that's not gonna go on a slide, or everything about it that's not gonna be spoken in the actual meeting. It can range from contact information to who's gonna be there in the room. Now to get you started in this logistics finding process, we have a checklist for you that's gonna be included in these course materials. It's also available online as a Google doc, so you can make a copy of that and save it as a resource that you can use over and over again. So it's super helpful. Now, one word about this checklist, I do encourage that this is filled out every single time you have a presentation. It takes no more than 15 min...

utes, and it's absolutely essential to make sure that you don't forget anything. Again, one of the things that's gonna make us really successful in these high-risk presentations is our level of preparedness. So go through this really detailed and make sure that you don't skip anything. There are some cases in which we can not go through certain areas, and we'll talk about that, with red level presentations because sometimes you may not even have that 15 minutes to be able to fill this out. But I still want you to glance at it, and there's a couple of fields that are absolutely mandatory. So as we start this presentation checklist, we always start with just the facts. Where is the presentation taking place? Are you gonna actually go anywhere or not? Make sure you include a Google Maps link too. It's really helpful to have it handy, especially if you keep this online, to make sure that you're getting to the right place. We're also gonna do date, start time, and end time. I know this stuff sounds really pedantic, but you would be surprised how many times I have to answer questions from someone who may be coming with me on a presentation. They're like, "Oh my gosh, what time does this start again?" And I have to say, "Okay, it's at this time." Make sure you have it written down in a document, and then this is shared with everyone who's participating in the presentation. Trust me, it helps to write it down. So in addition to the facts, let's talk about the audience a little bit. This is section number two because it's also gonna be extremely important to make sure that you answer these questions appropriately. So the first one is who is the master presenter? Let's define that for a second. A master presenter is not always the person who's gonna be talking all the time. A master presenter is someone who, it's like a master of ceremonies or an MC. They're the ones who are going to maybe kick off the presentation. Oftentimes they're the point of contact for whoever it is you're talking to, and they're the ones who may be calling the shots throughout the presentation during the breaks. It's important to designate this person off the bat, so that when you get into a room you're not looking around at each other like, "Oh my gosh, who wants to start?" You already have that set, and the more that you look prepared to your audience, the better you're going to seem. Even if you have a red level deck and you know that you didn't have a lot of time to prepare, your audience will never know that. So picking that master of ceremonies is gonna be really important. The next one is who is gonna be presenting? It's not always the master of ceremonies, but sometimes it is. Pick the people who are going to present off the bat. You don't have to decide the order right now, but just know who's gonna do that. And also, this is something that I always add. Try to give their full names, and this is important because sometimes you may not know who else you're presenting with, or sometimes you may know them, but you want to remember their last name because you're gonna be introducing them, and that's something that we'll talk about when we get into actually presenting, some of the tips and tricks for doing stuff and habits to get into. And the next thing we want to answer in the audience section is who are you speaking to? Again, this seems like something that you, anyone would be able to know in giving your presentation, but it really helps to write this stuff down. Give full names wherever possible, and if you don't know who else is gonna be in the room, that's totally okay. Just try to pick a couple people. You should know at least one or two of the names. If you're doing it to a big crowd, that's fine. Just put your point of contact there, that's okay. But we'll still want to put something in that field. So now let's talk about the goal of the presentation, and I'm keeping this word singular for a very specific reason. This is not the goals, but the goal. There may be multiple goals to your presentation, but for our purposes, we're gonna write down one. This is the master goal, and there's something really important about this goal that we wanted to decide. We want to say, "I want my audience to ..." and then we're gonna start with a verb. So we want to make sure that this is action oriented. I have an example here of a goal that doesn't really work for us and a goal that does work. So a bad example is I want my audience to learn about recycling. Now, learn is a perfectly fine verb, but it's not actually our end goal. Oftentimes I find when people are including words like learn, or I want them to find out about, or learn more, there's actually a secondary, more powerful goal that we want to be reaching with them, and that one is, "I want them to recycle more." So not only do I want them to learn about recycling, yes, that's true, but I want my singular goal for this particular presentation to be I want them to recycle more. We have to be very honest with ourselves when we're coming up with these goals because everything about our presentation's going to be aimed at that goal, and it's especially important in yellow and red level presentations to have that goal very clearly defined, because every slide that you create, and every paragraph that you're saying should be aimed at that goal. There's another part of the goal here that I want to talk about. What got you here? Sometimes it's important when you're creating a presentation or you're working with other people to create presentations, to have a little bit of history behind why you're talking about this. Were you invited to a sales pitch? Are you a subject matter expert on something and you need to consult with someone? Is it as simple as that, or is there a little bit of history there, something about the audience that you're speaking to, that presenter or someone who's creating the presentation needs to know. This is a great place to put that information in. There was one more back there. Hang on one second, so what are some risk factors that could lead to missing the goal? So these are important to fill out. You're gonna have more of them in a red and yellow level presentation deck, but you should fill them out regardless of the color of your deck. So these are things like is there content that needs some special care? Are you doing a PR based deck, where you need to be very careful about the client that you're talking about, or portray them in a very certain light? Could someone not show up? I've had cases where I've given presentations on things and the person who I really wanted in the room wasn't there, so I actually had to give the presentation again. Or what else could go wrong? So here's some more basic logistics about the presentation itself, the actual physical communication tool that's gonna be happening between you and your audience. The first one is how are you gonna be presenting? Again, sounds pedantic, but it's really important to get this down in the beginning of your presentation process, so are you gonna do it in person, on the phone? Are you gonna be doing a screen share, or are you going to be doing a mix of these things? Whatever it is, you can check any of the boxes that apply, and the more boxes that you're checking, the more complex your presentation's going to be and the more you'll have to prepare using this document. It's really important to write down this stuff early on. Below that we have some sub-sections, so if you did check the in person box, here are some questions to answer. What's the setup time? Not only do we have a time that we start the actual presentation, but we have a time at which we can begin setting up. Sometimes this is not a lot. If you're going into a corporate office building, you pretty much have seconds or minutes to set up your presentation and get rolling. Sometimes you've got the luxury of having more than a couple minutes. I personally like to be in a presentation room at least a half an hour to an hour before I start talking. This gives me time to get acclimated to the setting, to figure things out, and to smooth over any of those bumps that may occur after I arrive. So have that setup time in addition to your start time. In addition to setup time, let's move one step backwards and go to your journey time. Oftentimes we're gonna be presenting in person in locations that are not our own office or our own home, or it's not gonna be on a call or anything like that, so we need to allow ourselves time to get there. It's good to plan this out ahead of time because you want to account for things like traffic. I know, again, this sounds like stuff that you should already be figuring out, but write it down. It really does help. And then when you get there, you're gonna have, if it's not your own business or home, you're gonna have a contact person usually. It's good to write that down. I've been in lots of cases where I'll arrive out of an elevator, in an office, and I'll get to a front desk and they'll say, "Who are you meeting today?" And I'll have to look it up pretty quickly. It's happened before, it's happened to all of us. So I'll have to pull out my phone. If you have it written down all in one place, it just helps you remember a little bit better, and then also have their contact information in case you need it as well. If you're doing a phone presentation, you're gonna want that call-in number and the host number as soon as possible. Sometimes you don't get it until a little bit before. That's totally fine. Still write it down and keep it here. Again, it helps for everyone to have access to this document in case other people need to call in. And then if you're using a video or screen share, what service are you using? There's lots of them out there, and they each act in different ways. Again, the more prepared you are with this kind of stuff, the better your presentations are gonna be, and the more you can alleviate some of that risk of the yellow and red levels. Let's talk about the tone of your presentation. This is something that you're gonna want to get on paper early on because you'll want this before you start creating your deck, because it's gonna affect things like design and some of your copy in your deck. I have it in the logistics section because it feeds into those other items. So for tone, this is a fun little scale that I use, is if one, a tone of one on a scale of one to 10, is a backyard picnic, and 10 is a senate hearing, where are you on that scale? Like where does the formality of your presentation lie? And you want to take things into account, like the subject matter that you're presenting on, and whether you know your audience. Sometimes not knowing anyone in the room is gonna elevate your scale a little bit, and it's gonna cause you to treat your deck creation a little bit differently. Things like what are you gonna wear, you know? If you're a creative director like me, you might be able to get away with wearing jeans and just a T-shirt. Sometimes you want to be a little bit more coordinated and make sure that everyone is showing up dressed at the same level. Again, write it down. And who will handle the introductions and closing thoughts? Nine times out of 10, this is gonna be the master of ceremonies, but not always. Sometimes it will be the people that you are presenting to. For instance, if you're in a sales meeting, and the person who initially brought you into the sales meeting is sitting there with his co-workers, his or her co-workers, they're gonna say, "Hi, guys, I am so and so, and I have brought this group here to present," so they're gonna be the ones who handle the introduction and the closing thoughts. So make sure you figure out who's gonna do that early on. And then the last two things that we want to do in the logistics section are our restrictions and resources. Restrictions is super important because this happens more often than I've realized, so I wanted to be able to show this to you and give you some examples. The first one is do you need special access to a building, a property, or a website? Bring your photo ID. If you're gonna be going somewhere, make sure that if you're gonna be confronted with a front desk or something like that, that you're well prepared. What other restrictions are there? Things that may not be things like access, but other ones? A minimum or a maximum number of slides. Is there an RFP that you're responding to that has very specific restrictions on what you're showing? Even things like do you have to have page numbers? Sometimes these items are written out and you want to be able to gather them and put them all in one place. This will be your hero document if you treat it right and put everything inside of it. And the last section here, resources. Who's gonna be in charge of the master deck? We'll get into this a little bit later when we talk about version control and some of the risk behind that and how you can alleviate that for the higher risk presentations in order to get them created quicker. But this is gonna be the person who has control over one single file, or who has access to that file in your master deck. Where will the master deck and previous version source files and content drafts be kept? So all of these things are gonna live somewhere. Is it gonna be on someone's computer? Preferably it's someplace that has backups in order to cut down some of the risk of losing these things, but we'll get into this when we talk about where your content's being stored. What stock libraries may be used? I added this question in there because sometimes people don't realize, or other designers who are working on your deck, may have access to things that they wouldn't normally, so if you're working on a deck for a business and the business has its own library of images, you'll want to provide that here. Or if there are no restrictions whatsoever and you can use Google images, we'll talk a little bit about that later when we get into creating our content. But go ahead and write it down if you can. And then what is the content cutoff? This is a really big, important question that we'll talk about just in a second, but deciding when that content cutoff date's gonna be is extremely important for a yellow and red level deck because it's gonna affect how you interact with the design of that deck, when you can start designing certain things versus keeping them a little bit looser in case it needs to be changed. So that's the biggest tool that we're gonna use in our preparation of our logistics. I want to caveat all of that by saying we should always have a plan B. Now the plan B, the alternate backup plans for our presentations may change depending on the presentation, but you're gonna find that having some backups that you regularly go to are gonna be important. So for instance, what if the WiFi doesn't work? Is your presentation completely offline, or do you need to access something online? What if the screen doesn't work? I've been in lots of situations where I get in, I don't have a lot of time to prepare, my team is all there, and I go to plug something in and I don't have the right connector or the screen that I'm working with in someone else's room, in their office, just doesn't work. Do you have a backup, are you prepared? Even if it's as much as saying, "You know what, guys? I've been in a scenario like this before. I'm just gonna turn my laptop around and we're gonna do it this way." The more prepared you are, the more you think about these situations, the more confident you're going to seem to your audience, and it's gonna really adjust their attitude towards your presentation. So make sure that for each one of those questions, if something can go wrong, you've at least thought about it, if not prepared for it.

The stakes are high. Time is short. You’re up next.

Scenarios like this can make even the most seasoned speaker sweat. Is it possible to create meaningful, mind-changing presentations that actually accomplish goals with little to no preparation? Can you make a visual impact while still being on a “slide budget”? Can you turn a tight-timeline situation into a critical success without sacrificing quality?

Yes! You can do it with this class under your belt!

In this class we’ll spell out the exact steps to quickly craft a great presentation while under the worst of circumstances. No resources? No problem. You’ll learn and master the following steps with real life practical applications...

  • Prepare (Get ready!)
    • Just the Facts: Learn to quickly gather the exact meta-info required to set your mind at ease and why it matters to ask questions
    • The Gathering: Learn to identify the key content ingredients you’ll need upfront
    • Mighty Minimalism: Master the art of simple slide design, regardless of your design background or your chosen presentation program
  • Prioritize (Get set!)
    • Distraction Triage: Learn how to keep their sights on your goal
    • Cut the Fat: Find out what content is worth keeping and what needs to go
    • Touch-ups: Fix tricky visual issues and make even your edits show-stopping
  • Present (GO!)
    • Space Master: Find out how to deal with various presentation setting and audiences
    • Jedi Mind Tricks: Learn to read your audience and pivot on the fly
    • Do’s and Don’t: It can actually be okay to read off of a slide, but always be allergic to bullet points. Learn the nuances of presenting under pressure.

 
 
 
 

Reviews

  • Found this course concise and informative. Would recommend to all who have to do presentations.