A Successful Presentation Requires a Simple Structure

A myth that needs busting – a successful presentation is only seen on TedEx

Sure, these are super-engaging with a great following. But you can easily match them through having a sound design process to develop your own successful presentation.

Step 1. Begin with the end in mindHow to Design a Successful Presentation

Be clear on who you want to influence and what you want them to do as a result of attending your presentation. Design your presentation with a clear ‘call to action‘ in mind right from the get go.

Step 2. Break it down

To help keep you and your audience on track and moving towards your call to action, we need to split your presentation into three distinct and complimentary chunks:

  • What
  • So What
  • Now What

If you’re doing a research-based presentation, think of how much time you need to put into each of the three chunks.

The common trap is for presenters to spend far too much time on their methodology – i.e. the ‘what‘.

This often results in them running out of time or having to rush the more important parts of their presentation – i.e. so what and now what.

Just think of how frustrating it is for you as a member of the audience when you hear “sorry I need to rush through these last few slides,” or “oh, it looks like I’ve run out of time.” Grrrrr!

People have come to hear you speak to find out something new, not something they already know. Here’s a rough guide on the focus and timing for each chunk of your presentation.

Chunk Focus Proportion of presentation
  • The aim of the research
  • How was it undertaken
So What
  • The research outcomes
  • The benefits or value it has delivered
  • What it means to the audience (WIIFM)
Now What
  • How this research can be used
  • What needs to happen now (call to action)

The ‘So What’ and ‘Now What’ chunks are where you should be conveying your key messages, this is what the audience has come along to hear.

PS – have a look at the video from the AFAC16 Conference. It features some speakers who participated in my 1:1 Coaching Program. (They’re the well-prepared and confident ones!)

AFAC16 Research Day Wrap-up from AFAC News on Vimeo.

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Andrew Huffer

Andrew Huffer has over 25 years experience in working with organisations, businesses, managers and communities and at a state, national and international level. He designs and delivers specialist engagement processes, with a focus on facilitating open decision making processes and skill development of clients. He has delivered presentations and workshops at a number of state, national and international conferences.

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