7 Steps to Creating a Presentation that Will Connect Your Audience with You

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You have a presentation to give and you are sitting at your desk racking your brain on how to create a presentation that will engage your audience. If you are like me you’ve also probably waited until the last minute to prepare.  Look, no judgment from me, I’ll admit that I’m the Princess of Procrastination. The good news is I’m here to help you get through this.

The fact is you either love to give presentations or you loathe them but they are the evil necessity in your line of business.

I get it, there was a certain energy that I would get during a presentation, but what I hated was the preparation.  After all, you don’t really know how your audience will respond until you are in front of them and often you must have what I call the “zig-zag” and “go with the flow” talent to shift gears if you need to.

Ok, back to creating that presentation, you obviously have the skill do the presentation or you wouldn’t have been asked to do it.

Our first step is to develop the structure for our presentation. 

Step 1: Presentation Title

We all know how important it is to have a catchy title for your presentation, both for promotional purposes but also to grab the audience’s attention early.  Crafting a catchy title can cause anxiety and frustration for many so here are a few tips to help:

  1. Search online to help generate catchy title ideas.
  2. Browse magazine titles to help generate ideas.

For example here, are a few ideas I got just by using the two steps above:

  • Five Steps to Cultivating Change When Change is Hard
  • What We Can Learn from Six Traits of True Leaders
  • Best Secrets to Startup Success

The title is probably where most people get stuck, so use resources to come up with a catchy title.  Perhaps the first one you come up with will only be you’ll guide to get started, you can always change it later.

 

Tip: Don’t sit there frozen over a title, draft it and keep going – come back to it later if you need to.

Step 2: Opener

You’ll grab your audience or lose them here.  This is where they decide if what you have to say is important enough to tune in or tune out and multitask on their computers or smartphones. I always like to start my opener off with a story that they can relate to, it draws them in. I also at this point remind my audience that this is a two-way presentation and I want them to feel free to ask me questions because the last thing I want them to do is to walk out without getting what it is that they came to the presentation for.

You can also use your opener to point to the future or the past.This is a great attention getter. For example:

  • Prospective (Statement looking to the future) – “5 years from now technology replace your job.”
  • Retrospective (Statement looking to the past) – “In 2010 there were 172.3 million online shoppers, in 2015 there will be over 200 million online shoppers.

These types of statement always grab your audience’s attention and get them “hungry” for information when your statement correlate with the presentation you are about to give.  

Step 3: Give Thanks

Always an important step, be sure to thank the people that invited you as well as the audience for joining you for the presentation.

Thanking them will help to also engage them and leave them feeling your appreciation and gratitude.

Step 4: Share Takeaway

You don’t think your audience just showed up for you, right? Of course not. They’ve come to get something out of your presentation and they want to know “what’s in it for them?” This is your chance to tell them what they are going to get out of your presentation.   Tell them and they will continue to stay tuned in, miss this step and you could lose them.

Step 5: Build Credibility

What makes you qualified to share with them today? Go ahead give them a little insight into why you’ve earned the right to be on stage and why you’ve been asked to present. This step should always lead before you teach, because if they don’t know what experience you bring to the table you will not have passed the “credibility” test.

Share your bio, share your experiences, your mission, and life purpose.  Let them get to know you, earn the right.

Step 6: Teach

Ahhhh, my favorite part.  This is where you get to impart your knowledge and possibly change someone’s life.  Ok, maybe it’s not their life but perhaps you can help them grow their business, be encouraged, change their process.  There is so much potential in this step and probably one of the main reasons I love to present.   You can teach through a story or even using a series of lessons learned.  I like to break out this step into 3 parts:

  • Engage with an Opening
    What are you teaching them today? You can go ahead and remind them of “what’s in it for them?”
  • Share Your Story or Series of Lessons
    Make it relatable and interesting.  Even if you use the series of lessons be sure to weave them in a story, if you only use facts and figures you will lose them.
  • Strong Ending
    Bring the story to a resolution. How does the story help them? What can they take away the story and implement today?

Step 7:  Close

Don’t underestimate the value of the close. This is where you get to remind and recap with them what you hope they walk out with and by challenging them by giving them a call to action or call to purpose. Use this time to connect the presentation with them emotionally, this ensures they will always remember attending your presentation.