Thinking, researching, planning, and doing-all the hard work of putting together a presentation is worth nothing if an audience is not convinced to act. Unfortunately, in this age when success depends so greatly on the ability to effectively communicate complex information, presenters are overwhelmed with bad presentation design advice. In Advanced Presentations by Design, marketing and communications expert Dr. Andrew Abela offers readers ten steps to improve presentation impact. His Extreme Presentation™ method, which is based on hundreds of empirical studies and has been successfully tested by several Fortune 500 companies, helps presenters determine who their intended audience is, what that audience needs to know, and how that information should be conveyed to promote action.
Presenters today are faced with an abundance of bad presentation design advice. To ensure that they create successful presentations that get noticed and compel audiences into action, presenters should follow the ten Extreme Presentation™ steps:
- Identify the communication preferences of the different personality types in the audience. Presenters must identify if their audience members are focused inward or outward, if they prefer details or the big picture, if they like to focus on logic or feelings, and if they want up-front conclusions or an array of options.
- Set specific objectives for what the audience should think and do differently after the presentation. Objectives should include both behavioral and attitudinal components that encourage audience members toward desired actions.
- Identify a problem that the audience has and let the presentation contribute to solving it. To keep an audience interested in a presentation, the problem should be a real one that causes the audience personal or professional pain if it is not solved.List all the information that may need to be included in the presentation. Evidence can strengthen a presentation’s persuasiveness, but only if it is real, specific, new, and different.
- Identify brief anecdotes that highlight the most important points. The three kinds of stories that tend to be highly effective are those that are directly related to an organization or an issue, those that are hypothetical, and those that are metaphorical.
- Sequence the information so that it tells a compelling story. Effective stories repeatedly create tensions and solve them.
- Identify the most effective graphical elements to use in the presentation. Graphics should be diverse and relevant if they are to enhance the presentation.
- Create visuals that communicate the information concisely and effectively. PowerPoint’s Smart Art, Ballroom style, and Conference Room style are the three most popular methods of conveying information visually.
- Identify any potential roadblocks to achieving the objectives and make a plan to deal with each. Because not everybody who will be needed to implement a presentation’s recommendations will be in attendance, a presenter must have a plan for getting the message through to everyone.
- Decide how the success of the presentation will be measured. Usually, a presentation’s success is determined by whether or not the audience takes the requested action.