There’s an old adage that ‘a good presentation doesn’t start on the podium, it starts in the preparation’, and it’s a good one to follow. Think of a presentation like an iceberg. What the audience sees is only the tip of your work, as the bulk of your work is out of sight, hidden in the time you spent preparing and rehearsing your presentation. Making it look easy is hard work.
So, how do you start planning your presentation? If you start by sitting staring at a blank PowerPoint slide, that’s the wrong way to start. If you start by looking at the cursor flashing at the top of a Word document, that’s the wrong way to start. If you start with a blank piece of paper and a pen, you’re half way there – but if you start writing your content, that’s the wrong way to start.
Before you start writing your content, let alone designing slides, your starting point should be setting some objectives for your presentation.
Two sets of objectives, in fact.
Some for yourself and some for your audience.
Your objectives also give you something to measure against. Once you’ve written your presentation and built your slides, you can go back to your objectives and think, ‘If I deliver this content, will I meet my objectives?’ After you’ve delivered your presentation, you can go back to your objectives again and ask yourself, ‘Did I meet my objectives? Did my audience meet theirs? If not, what do I need to change before I give this or a similar presentation again in order to meet those objectives next time?’