7 things to consider when making a presentation:

  • Understand what the audience wants to achieve. You should know going in what this particular audience anticipates and expects from you. And if you're not sure, ask. They may want something to change. Or they want something to stay the same. They may seek inspiration. You need to know what success looks like from the audience's perspective.

  • Be clear about what you want to accomplish. Are you trying to promote an agenda or cause? Challenge an idea? Do you want to become part of audience members' world--or invite them into yours? Since you can't accomplish everything, make sure you focus on the outcome you'd most like to achieve. Remember to avoid being overly promotional-it's an instant turn-off.

  • Choose one idea. Your talk should only be about one thing. You don't need the whole beach; focus on a single grain. You want to motivate or raise awareness of one problem--the more specific, the better.

  • Bring a fresh perspective. Nobody wants to hear a presentation about something they already know. The best presentations provide a twist. They challenge an existing idea. They provide a new solution for a common problem. Or they offer your unique take on an issue--a point of view that only you could have, given your experience and frame of reference.

  • Share evidence to make your case. Now that you've decided what you want to share, give the audience a reason to believe you. Provide specific details, a personal story, an outcome, a lesson. People will only believe you if you provide some evidence or illustration of your idea.

  • Strip out anything that doesn't fit. Remove all the extra content that is weighing down the story. Speakers often try to tell an audience every single thing they know. Don't think of your talk as a big vat of coffee. Think of it as an espresso: small, strong and potent.

  • Don't wing it. Learn the entire talk and use no notes or slides where possible. The best speakers prepare and practice--then do it again and again. This is not improv--it's a polished performance. Your goal is to create a memorable experience. You can only do some improvised stuff if you are confident and sure of the core material. If you want to show your audience respect, come prepared.

© 2017 by 100 Women Boston North