We ask people on our courses what they remember from the last presentation they went to. Typically they either remember nothing, or a random point or story that the presenter told. So when you’re presenting, take charge of what your audience remembers. Here are six ways to do that:
1. Focus your presentation around one Key MessageDecide on what is the most important point that you want to get across to your audience. We call this point the Key Message. Then build your presentation around that Key Message. It’s very tempting to have more than one Key Message. But by doing this you dilute the power of each message.
2. Make that Key Message simple and concreteTake the time to craft your Key Message so that it is easy for someone else to grasp. A traffic engineer we were working with drafted this Key Message:
Implementing urban design principles will ensure that this roading project is sustainable.We worked with her to transform it to this: Look for abstract, conceptual words in your Key Message and see if you can replace them with specific, concrete words that your audience can “see” in their minds.
3. Flag your Key MessageYou want your audience to be alert and paying attention when you state your Key Message. You can do this by saying something like:
Here’s the most important thing I want you to get.Then pause….then say your Key Message. We call this a flag because it’s like waving a flag to say pay attention to the next thing that I’m going to say. It’s equivalent to a teacher saying “Pay attention now because this is going to be in the exam.”