Preparing To Present Your Business Case – Part 3 of 3

One of the challenges with getting approval for a business case is presenting it well. Never underestimate the power of a poor presentation. There are several things you should consider when making a presentation:

  1. Who is your audience?
  2. Is your audience prepared for your message?
  3. Do you speak the same language?

In my last blog I discussed the importance of preparing your audience for your message and being prepared for the challenges therein. For this blog I would like to focus on point three: Do you speak the same language?

Special consideration should always be given to the language you use in your presentation. First, lets define what makes up our language of expression for presentations. The common building blocks are:

  1. Words
  2. Acronyms
  3. Visual models
  4. Colors
  5. Spreadsheets
  6. Graphs
  7. Pictures
  8. Video
  9. Power point slides
  10. Handouts
  11. Prototypes
  12. Body language
  13. Tone of voice
  14. Clothing

When selecting your repertoire of building blocks, remember that the typical audience has a multitude of needs. Carefully choose a blend of options that meet the needs of a multitude of people. According to the latest surveys, most audiences are made up of a mix of people that need lists with all the facts, big picture visuals, and lots of color. If you can blend these three things into a presentation with the appropriate building blocks, you’ll probably meet the needs of almost any audience.

My preference is to use power point or keynote slides with lots of colorful visuals, and handouts with all the supporting details. If you feel like you need a little extra, try adding a short video to your presentation. Just make sure that the video provides a powerful visual aid to support the rest of your content.

To ensure that your audience can see your slides, you should also ensure that the room is laid out properly and that the projector is high quality. For layout, make sure that everyone can comfortably see the screen without straining their eyes or necks. Also ensure that there aren’t any obvious obstacles in the room like pillars. The projector must have an adequate lumens power for the size of the room. Additionally, remember that a weak projector will not be able to transfer your careful selection of colors and visual aids. They’ll end up watered down and lost in translation.

Combine this with the first two steps of knowing who your audience is and whether your audience is prepared for your message. Together, the fulfillment of these three components will ensure that your message is heard, the rest is up to you.

So make sure that the next time you give a presentation you eliminate the risk of not being heard or understood. That’s probably eighty percent of the challenge.

Larry T. Barnard

To learn more about how to improve your presentation skills, check out Learning Tree’s course, Delivering Dynamic Presentations.

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