Section 8.1. Planning the Presentation

8.1. Planning the Presentation

It doesn't matter if you're planning on talking one on oneteaching your daughter how to operate the lawnmoweror speaking to thousands of Macworld attendees: if you care about the message you're about to deliver, it's worth spending time organizing your thoughts before you begin composing your presentation (Figure 8-1).

Tip: While you're planning your presentation, don't forget to make a contingency plan, too. Identify parts of your presentation you could simplify, gloss over, or cut out completely, in case your guest speaker rambles on for ten minutes instead of three; audience questions take much longer than anticipated; or you have to send someone to find the janitor when you turn on your projector and trip a circuit breaker.

8.1.1. The Goals of Your Presentation

Begin by really thinking through what you want your presentation to accomplish. There's nothing worse than being on the receiving end of an aimless talk. In other words, what do you want your audience to walk away with? Here are some examples:

  • Gain knowledge or skills.

  • Understand a new concept.

  • Be inspired or moved.

  • Change their behavior.

  • Change their belief system.

  • Take action.

  • Buy something.

  • Donate to your organization or invest in your company.

  • Become involved in a process or a cause.

  • Get media coverage for your business or organization.

8.1.2. Know Your Audience

To increase the likelihood of achieving your goal, you need to learn as much as you can about the kind of people who'll be in the audience. Put yourself in their shoes and figure out how you can make your presentation interesting and relevant to them. Sometimes you'll know exactly who you're talking to: the members of your project team, the Board of Directors, or your fellow Rotary members . In these cases, you've probably already got a pretty good idea of who these people are, what interests them, what their group culture is like, and what the norms are for typical presentations.

Figure 8-1. As you plan and deliver your presentation, you'll have to deal with lots of details; always keep the big picture in mind and tackle each task in its proper order. There are many steps between determining your goal and celebrating a successful presentation. Most vital is defining your target audience as clearly as possible, and then figuring out the appropriate information to give this group. The evaluation and the resulting feedback loops (shown by the dotted lines) provide important opportunities for you to tailor the design of your presentation. See Section for advice on how to create evaluation forms.

At other times, the audience may be much more of an unknown quantity: the attendees at a conference you've never been to before, reporters at a press conference, a brand new client, or the circuit court judge. In this case, make an effort to learn about your audience to give yourself a better chance of really connecting with them.

8.1.3. Tailor the Presentation to the Audience

With your presentation goal and target audience clearly in mind, you can tailor what you're going to say to this particular group.

  • What language do they speak?

  • Do they use colloquial language or jargon?

  • How might their culturetheir regional, ethnic , class, or corporate cultureaffect how you communicate with them?

  • What kinds of presentations are they accustomed to viewing?

  • What would this audience consider appropriate dress for a presenter?

  • What would make this topic important to this audience?

Tip: Interview potential audience members or other people who've presented to this group previously and ask for advice on how to make your presentation succeed.

8.1.4. Outline the Presentation

Start by creating an outline of your presentation on paper or in Pages. Start rough with the high points of what you want to say and refine your outline as you go. If your presentation is part of a larger event, then outline your part from the time you take the podium to the time you leave the stage. A Keynote presentation may be all or only a small part of this outline.

If your presentation is the event, outline the whole thingfrom the time you arrive at the hall, set up your information table, check in with your helpers, and so on; right through to the end when you pack up your projector and turn out the lights.

8.1.5. Build Your Presentation

Work from your outline to create your Keynote presentation. The following chapters cover the mechanics of working with Keynote. But before you start creating slides, refine your outline so you'll know how and where to make use of those slides.

It's certainly not the only way to do it, but an old favorite structure for speeches is the overview, the presentation, and the review. In other words, tell them what you're going to tell them, then tell them, and then tell them what you told them. That may sound excessively simple, but it's a wonderfully easy way to keep your audience oriented.

You might find it useful to start with a joke, a quip, or humorous anecdoteespecially a self-deprecating onethat somehow relates to your topic. If skillfully delivered, this kind of icebreaker helps lower the audience's defenses and can endear you to them. But if you can't tell jokes, or if you're sure you're going to be so nervous you could never pull it off, don't attempt it. You certainly don't want to start off with a poorly told joke that falls flat.

Remember as you design your slidesand later as you make your presentationyour job is to communicate your information clearly, simply, and interestingly. Your mission is to engage the audience and keep their attention for the duration. Keep these points in mind when you're sketching out what you want to say:

  • Know your subject thoroughly, but don't feel you have to tell everything you know.

  • Use as many slides as you needand not one more. Slides are supporting materials; use them where they do the most good. It's possible you could give an hour -long talk and use five slides. Some slides may be up for several minutes each, while others may be onscreen for only a few seconds.

  • Slides are especially good for tables and charts , pictures, and strong bullet points.

  • Don't fill your slides with text. Use a larger font than you think you need.

  • If you have several bullet points on a slide, build them in one at a time as you discuss each one. Otherwise, your audience will read ahead and not listen.

  • Try to approximately balance your use of slides that contain bullet points, charts, and pictures.

  • Try to make your presentation interactive. For example, present a problem or question to the audience and open it up for discussion. Alternatively, ask audience members to discuss the question with their neighbors for a few minutes and then gather responses from the room.

  • Vary the pace of the presentationespecially if it's a long oneby using other visual aids, special guests, demonstrations , and so on.

  • Use every different communication method at your disposal: auditory, visual, and direct experience. Involve the right brain by using stories, movement, or song.

  • Be careful with how much color you use in your slides. You don't want color to distract from the point you're making, and you always want to make sure your slides are legible.

  • Don't use slide animations or fancy transitions just because it's easy to do so. These features should serve the presentation, not distract from it.

  • Assess your own strengths and weaknesses and use the tools you've got or enlist other people to make a successful presentation. For example, can you speak extemporaneously or do you need a script? Can you use your graphic arts skills to design your own slides (most of us can't) or should you stick to templates?

  • Every presentation is a team effort. Plan your team carefully : consultants , tech support people, confederates in the audience, perhaps even a drama coach.

  • Your presentation should keep the audience involved by keeping them thinking or reacting emotionally; by generating questions, new thoughts, and new dreams.

  • Use humorous anecdotes for a change of pace or to illustrate a point.

  • Include a periodic review or perhaps a quiz of material you've covered so your listeners can begin to use the new information you're presenting right away.

  • Don't use the stick man! (Thankfully, this universally hated PowerPoint icon isn't included with Keynote.)

8.1.6. Practice

Spend some quality time rehearsing your presentation. Get out a stopwatch and track how long it takes you to give your speech, and then factor in the time you need to spend on introductory comments and the question-and-answer period. Make any adjustments you need to remain comfortably within the allotted time.

Practice giving your presentation to a coworker, an indulgent spouse, or an attentive dog, and listen carefully to any feedbackfrom the humans anyway. Watch yourself in the mirror or shoot a video of yourself as you practice. Pay special attention to your gestures, expressions, and body language. Be yourself, but remember you are essentially "on stage"even if your audience is composed of only two people. And to reach an audience, you need to project not only your voice, but your movements and gestures as well.

Have someone else proofread your slides. If you have to proofread them yourself, print out the slides so you can see the words on paper instead of on screen. Misspelled words or incorrect punctuation that you read over a dozen times on screen will jump out at you on a printed page. Double- and triple-check the spelling of people's names or product names that appear in your slides.

8.1.7. Backup

You've planned, produced, practiced, and polished your presentationdon't take any chances with it now. Back up your Keynote file and any of your supporting materials: scripts, handouts, and so on. Burn them to a CD or copy them to a portable flash drive, an external hard drive, or another computer on your network. You may also want to email your presentation to a Web-accessible email account; you can always download it in a pinch . There's nothing special about making these kinds of backupsit should be standard operating procedure for all your important files.

But you also need another kind of backup for your presentation. If you're taking your presentation on your laptop to plug it into a video projector, you should think about what you'll do if the laptop conks out when you get thereand then have a backup plan.

Prepare copies of your presentation on CD in Keynote and PowerPoint format so you can borrow a computer and still present your slides. (See Section 11.3 for information on exporting to the PowerPoint format.)

Also think about bringing your visuals in an alternate formatfor example, overhead transparencies or 35mm slides. (See Section 11.3.5 for the story on creating alternate visuals from Keynote.)

Always bring a printout of your slides and speaker notes. You may not be able to show the audience your charts and graphs but you'll still be able to make it through your speech, if necessary, using a whiteboard or flip chart to create quick illustrations.

iWork '05. The Missing Manual
iWork 05: The Missing Manual
ISBN: 059610037X
EAN: 2147483647
Year: 2004
Pages: 134
Authors: Jim Elferdink © 2008-2017.
If you may any questions please contact us: