If I were to ask you what is the biggest reason for a presentation to fail. What would you say? A bad story? No humor? Slides that had way too much text?
These can definitely contribute. Some might even say that maybe their pronunciation was bad, or that nervousness caused them forget not only key words, but most of the presentation itself. A few might even say topic itself was boring so it would natural fail.
These all have some truth to them. They can all be reason why a presentation would fail.
But I personally think that that fundamental reason why presentation or any public speech for that mater fails one did not approach it systematically enough. A presentation is not just a good message, a good story, and pretty slides. It is more than that.
I think that there are five steps to any presentation. These are as follows:
- (Setting) Goals & Objectives
- (Managing) Health & the Inner Game
It you do a search on presentation skills you will find a lot tips on tactics on how to do a presentation well. If you are lucky you may even find someone who mention good patterns or frameworks to use for your presentation.
But very few look at a presentation in its entirety. That is the problem. If you may think it is about the message or the slides or the connection with the audience, but a good presentation is much more than that.
In fact I feel that most people focus way to much on tactics or tricks to get the audience out the palm of their hand, and lose sight what really is important. All that focus and end up making you a really skillful presentation technician, but when it comes down to it there is something missing, and in one fell swoop the whole slide deck fall like house of cards.
You get a cold, have a bad day, get distracted by a sudden cell phone ring. If you don`t think of the mental and physical part of your well being you could put on a very lackluster performance despite how pretty the slides.
If you don`t even decide what is your major goal or objectives of this speech, you will also have problems. You have a good performance, and the audience may even think that it was a great story, but in the end nothing changes. The people who agree with your thinking still agree, and the those who don`t care, still don`t. That is probably not the outcome you want. But if you plan for an outcome the outcome you will get is nothing.
Of course, if you still need to create connection and rapport with your audience, or they may think "Easy for you to say" or "So, What?" or even "That is a stupid idea." No connection, no change. No change, no point.
So, of course you are also well aware that good structured content is important. That stucture hinge on your objective, how your audience can connect with your material, etc. Some patterns make work for one audience but not another, some material will make sense to one group, but not another. But I am sure you are well aware that.
Also, of course you know very well, that technique is also important. Please don`t like to be bored, nor can bored people learn much. A speech or a presentation is much like a show or present. The content is of course important, but who the gift is given or presented will also make or break how it is received.
Awareness of this is a good thing, but focusing on this too much is simply too much of a good thing.
So, I do wish you consider that a good presentation is more the words, it is more than the slides, it is even more than the heart felt message that you want to get across. It is a total package. It is a present that you will give to the audience. Please put in good consideration.