Putting Better Direction Into Your Next Presentation

Headlights of a classic car.

If you got in your car and drove for an hour with no destination in mind you could wind up just about anywhere. North, south, east, west, urban, suburban, rural, near water, far from water.

Where you wound up would be random because you didn’t have a destination in mind. You were just trying to kill an hour.

That’s the same mistake a lot of people make with their presentations: They don’t know where they’re trying to go so they just try to get through it. And when time is up, well, they figure they must be done.

There’s a better way.

Before you even begin to think about your PowerPoint slides or even the words you will use in your presentations, give yourself a target destination to aim for.

Your target destination is easily built around two things:

  1. What’s the perception you want your audience to have of you, your content, your brand when you finish the presentation
  2. What action do you want your audience to take after your presentation?

Here are some examples of target perceptions:

  • Fun, insightful, leading edge, unique, industry-leader, profitable, powerful, passionate, brilliant, helpful, empathic, empowering, engaging, decisive, action-oriented, results-oriented, focused.

Here are some examples of target audience actions:

  • Sign up for your program
  • Refer two prospects to you
  • Buy what you’re selling
  • Give your company their business for the next 12 months
  • Set up a meeting with a decision maker
  • Join your e-mail mailing list
  • Test your new program and provide testimonials
  • Invest one-million dollars in your venture
  • Start riding pink bikes to work
  • Sign up for your coaching services every Tuesday and Thursday afternoon for $350 per hour

Be specific

Did you notice as you got farther down that list and came across more and more specific examples how easy it was to “see” those actions? The more specific you are with your target audience actions, the easier it is to tell if you are on course or off course with your presentation.

Here is a five-step process to building a GPS into your presentation: 

  1. Choose up to four target perceptions. I call this the Core-4 and I offer an entire consulting program around it. If you would like to learn more, send me an e-mail at gerry@sanduskygroup.com
  2. Choose one or two very specific target audience actions
  3. Build everything in your presentation around supporting your target perceptions. If you want to come across as fun, engaging, unique, and energetic then loose the boring PowerPoint template and don’t dress like everyone else in the room.
  4. Figure out what steps your audience will need to take the desired action you want them to take
  5. Work backward from the call-to-action to build your presentation based on the information, insights, and action steps your audience needs to lead them to your desired action at the end of the presentation.

A couple of things to keep in mind:

  • People see your message long before they hear it.
  • Everything from your appearance to your PowerPoint to your body language either supports your target perception or dilutes it.
  • Give your audience the shortest path possible from what they need to know to what you want them to do.

Three benefits to using a GPS for your presentation:

  1.  You know if you are on course or off course while you are preparing!
  2. During the presentation, you can make adjustments if you sense you are veering off course.
  3. After the presentation, you will know with complete certainty if you reached your destination or not.

Your turn

Before your next presentation follow this 5-step approach. Use a GPS for your presentation. It will keep you from driving aimlessly from point to point in front of the audience who, in turn, will be grateful that you had real purpose and direction and didn’t kill an hour of their time.

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