Planning the Presentation

It doesn’t matter if you’re planning on talking one-on-one—teaching your daughter how to operate the lawnmower—or 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.


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.

The Goals of Your Presentation

Begin by 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.

Know Your Audience

In order 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 ...

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