Point, Click & Wow: Chapter 1

Point, Click & Wow: Chapter 1
Do you feel disorganized? Do people tell you, "You just didn't get to the point." Download this chapter to learn processes for organizing content around key messages. This chapter provides you with methods, worksheets, and guidelines to influence others through both storytelling and logic.

Focus on Your Key Messages. Learn the process for organizing content for a presentation. This chapter provides you with methods, worksheets, and guidelines to influence others through both storytelling and logic.

Chapter Outline

CHAPTER ONE Focus on Your Key Messages 1

Focus on Your Key Messages 3

Fill Out the Presentation Overview 3

Choose or Create a Format 10

Create an Executive Summary 25

Write Your Opening and Closing 29

Identify and Plot Stories to Tell 31

Plan Your Notes 39

Decide on Your Handouts 41

Conclusion 42

Focus on Key Messages 42

Chapter Excerpt

Focus on Your Key Messages

Situation today: You sit down to make PowerPoint slides or write your speech. When done, you go back over the presentation, trying to put it into some meaningful order. Before you realize it, you’ve worked for hours, reorganized the content, tried to cut it down (and discovered it grew instead)! Next, you review it with people who will be at the session, and even ask your boss to look over the outline. These people all say, “Shorten it!” or “It’s over our heads!” Worse yet, they spend time trying to figure out the structure of your talk and what information should be included or excluded, instead of helping you check the content for accuracy and key messages.

Key problems: Many people are creating haphazard, disorganized presentations of data slides. People spend hours redoing presentations – time they really don’t have. The key content of the subject is sometimes not even mentioned. The presentation is not convincing to the audience.

Key opportunities: Save hours of time. Motivate your audience to listen. Look and sound professional. Gain credibility.

Solution: Do not make a slide until you organize your information. Here is how to go about organizing your talk.

First, create your presentation overview. This overview targets the key information that your audience will be interested in hearing and establishes the criteria by which you will exclude or include content. When given to your boss or others, the overview enables everyone to suggest how to put together the content before you spend time creating your talk. It is much easier for someone to critique and change the one page overview than to have to review twenty slides in order to understand the talk.

Second, choose a format or outline with which to organize the content in the most effective manner for the audience to follow. Later in this chapter we will cover several different types of organizational structures that you will be able to use to achieve your particular purpose.

Third, write up an executive summary that really targets the overview of your entire talk before creating any slides or a written speech.

Fourth, plan to tell several stories so that the presentation becomes more memorable for the audience.

Story: In one of my classes, Clive, the manager of his company’s intranet, brought a presentation about his company’s new intranet site for us to discuss. His team had spent hours putting together a presentation they planned to give to hundreds of people in the company. The objective of the talk was to motivate people to look at and use the information on the new site. However, when we looked at the slides, it appeared that the presentation was almost exclusively about how they created the intranet site. They used a lot of jargon and included information no non-technical person would have cared about. Moreover, the presentation contained slide after slide of text with seven to nine phrases (almost sentences) on each slide. The key message derived from this talk seemed to be “Look how difficult this was to do, and since we worked so hard, we suggest you go look at it.” After Clive prepared a presentation overview and made a one slide executive summary, he redid the slides to focus on his audience. Specifically, he explained three benefits that people using this new site could gain. He removed the confusing jargon. When he practiced giving the talk, he sounded excited and enthusiastic. Without having done the necessary preparation, he never would have realized how his presentation actually discouraged people from wanting to go look at the company’s new intranet site.

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