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February 26, 2008


You are to give a presentation. You know your material by heart. You know you are the best person to deliver the information (otherwise why have they asked you?). You have even booked a restaurant to concentrate on (and celebrate over!) what you will do after. You think you are ready. Sorry, you still have work to do but here is some stuff which may help put you in the starting blocks.

The delivery of your presentation, believe it or not, is not the objective. The majority of good employees think they have worked hard on the presentation, they know it backwards and the majority will sabotage their own success because they don’t understand the real objective. Here is the math – the percentage of information retained divided by the presentation time.

If you give a boring recitation of information you have memorized the retention rate, or what people will remember, will be incredibly low. How much does it cost to assemble thirty senior executives together for a morning? Think of a figure then subtract about
ninety percent of that money and throw it directly out the window. With particularly bad presentations less than ten percent of the information is retained. A twenty minute presentation can potentially have two minutes of major points retained and reused by the audience afterwards.

It is essential to state you objectives at the beginning of your presentation. It gives you audience an idea of where you are going to take them so mentally they prepare themselves.

Use the ten percent rule to help you prepare. The introduction should take only ten percent of your presentation – if you are presenting for twenty minutes your intro should only take two.

In your first two minutes make at least one powerful statement and don’t waste time on a long winded introduction. Everyone knows why you are there and want to hear what you have to say – so get on with it.

Be prepared and leave nothing to chance. Check and re-check everything so you are sure it works. You know the room, the seating, the visual and sound equipment, you know if you are working with a hand held or wireless microphone and if you have demonstrations to do you are sure you can do them and manage your equipment at the same time.

Remember…Imagine success by imagining yourself in the room and everything is going well. Fear of public speaking is the fear of humiliation and the unknown – because you imagine the worst in some horrible chain of circumstances. If you are familiar with the surrounds you can more easily overcome this fear and put yourself into a state of mind which is more likely to succeed.

And…Everyone wants you to succeed.
Like I said it’s important to remember that there is a reason why you have been chosen to present. In principle, you are the best person for the job and are going to give your audience something they don’t know yet and they want to know. If this isn’t the case, change companies.

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