Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Points to take into account to prepare a presentation

Source: Confessions of a Public Speaker

1.- Take a strong position in the title.

All talks and presentations have a point of view, and you need to know what yours is. If you don’t know enough about the topic to have an opinion, solve that problem before you make your presentation. Even saying, “Here are five things I like” is a strong position, in that there are an infinite number of things you did not choose. With a weak position, your talk may become, “Here is everything I know I could cram into the time I have, but since I have no idea if you care, or what I would say if I had less time to talk, you get a half-baked, hard to follow, hard to present, pile of trash.”

2.- Think carefully about your specific audience.

Know why they are there, what their needs are, what background knowledge they have, the pet theories they believe in, and how they hope their world will be different after your lecture is over. If you don’t have time to study your subject, at least study your audience. It may turn out that as little as you know about a subject, you know more about it than your audience.

3.- Make your specific points as concise as possible.

If it takes 10 minutes to explain what your point is, something is very wrong. Points are claims. Arguments are what you do to support your points. Every point should be compressed into a single, tight, interesting sentence. The arguments might be long, but no one should ever be confused as to what your point is while you are arguing it. A mediocre presentation makes the points clear but muddles or bores people with the arguments. A truly bad presentation never clarifies what the points are.

4. Know the likely counterarguments from an intelligent, expert audience.

If you do not know the intelligent counterarguments to each of your points, your points cannot be good. For example, if your presentation is about why people should eat more cheese, you should at a minimum know why the Anti-Cheese Foundation of America says people should eat less cheese.


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