Do you know the essential steps to create an effective, memorable and influential presentation?

Picture this situation. You have an important presentation to deliver in two days. Your demanding schedule means you have struggled to find the time to prepare. Now finally, you have cleared a couple of hours on your schedule to think about this high-stakes speech. How are you going to spend the next two hours so that you come out with a presentation that gets your ideas across and positions you as an expert in your field?

William Edwards Deming, famous for contributing to Japan’s reputation for high quality innovative products in the years following the second world war, once said, “If you can’t describe what you are doing as a process, you don’t know what you’re doing.”

As a coach and advisor to senior executives, I have found that most executives do not have a process for one of their key requirements: the need to communicate clearly, effectively and persuasively with their direct reports, clients, investors, media and peers. They don’t have a process to think through the presentation or interview or speech. They don’t have a checklist to ensure they are thoroughly prepared for key moments. If you asked, they can only give vague statements to being “almost ready” or “I’ve made some slides”. Given the importance of an executive’s public face, this is a glaring gap. People judge you based on how you come across in public meetings and presentations. They make decisions on your ability to lead and direct an organisation based on how concisely and engagingly you can convey company strategy and change initiatives.

What can a process do to improve your public speaking or influencing ability:

It reduces your time to prepare. A checklist focuses your attention systematically so that you only spend time on the essentials. I have found that using a checklist cuts down preparation time substantially. In fact, I have reduced my preparation time to under 18 minutes (excluding rehearsals).

It increases your confidence. By going through a process you can be sure that you have covered all the major points. You reduce your anxiety around not knowing what the audience wants, you lower your stress by reassuring yourself that all major points will be delivered. By raising your certainty levels, you are boosting your confidence levels.

It improves your mastery. By using a process every time, you are becoming an expert. You are deepening your knowledge and ability. Over time you will find that the steps become engrained and as you strengthen your thinking process, you will be able to prepare a presentation to much higher standards than previously possible – and in half the time.

It allows you to become coach. A senior executive is a role model. An excellent presenter often benefits from the halo effect; their skills are seen in even greater light due to the fact that they can connect, engage and inspire people in their presentations. As a manager-coach, you will be able to transfer these skills because you have a process. A process is learn-able and measurable. You will be able to raise the effectiveness of presentations in your direct reports and you can instil an expectation for quality in communications. All this raises the productivity in your team.

The Speaking with Purpose Process has been developed from working with hundreds of senior executives and thousands of middle mangers across Asia. We have distilled the major components of preparing for a presentation or public speech in 10 easy to follow steps. These steps have been tested in our coaching engagements and in workshops in a wide range of industries and with people from all countries and hold up in range of formats; from small group presenting, key note speaking, conference calls, business presenting and large audience events.

The ten steps are :

1. Be audience ready

2. Define a clear intention & purpose

3. Organising for clarity and movement

4. Create soundbites for all main messages

5. Top and tail to open and close

6. Add supporting material to main points

7. Link each section with transitions

8. Rehearse 1-2-3-4

9. Plan connecting phrases

10. Prepare for question and answer session

I have written a book – which is more like a workbook- with 43 tools that help you develop the muscles to quickly and effectively prepare for all your business communications. I have called it “Speaking with Purpose: How to present ideas that matter in 18 minutes or less”. This is the step-by-step guide you have been looking for if you ever find yourself short on time to prepare. A systematic approach will take you through the essential steps to prepare, rehearse and deliver an impactful presentation that deliver a memorable message.

Full of examples, samples and suggestions, Speaking with Purpose will take you through a rigorous checklist that ensures you’ll be ready for the big day. Speaking with Purpose is written for the 21st Century presenter who needs to engage an audience with short attention spans. You will learn how to:

  • Save time with a checklist while preparing for a presentation

  • Create a memorable message for all your key points

  • Prepare so that you adjust to your audience’s expectations

  • Organise a flow that matches the purpose of your presentation

  • Write a clear conclusion with call-to-actions

  • Add transitions between sections so that your presentation unfolds smoothly

  • Use connecting phrases to engage and keep the audience’s attention

  • Rehearse so you make the best use of your limited time available

  • Prepare for Q&A so that you are ready for all expected questions

You can download a complimentary PDF one-page handout with the 10 steps and the taglines for each step here.

Advance copies of the Speaking with Purpose workbook are available in electronic form and can be found here.

The workbook will be launched at a conference in Hangzhou later this month and copies will be available for shipping after May 12th 2012.

In a world where we are both increasingly under time-pressure and pressure-to-preform, this is my small contribution to help executives become more effective, more influential and more masterful in their public communications.

In a world where we are both increasingly under time-pressure and pressure-to-preform, this is my small contribution to help executives become more effective, more influential and more masterful in their public communications.

To learn more about Speaking with Purpose…

We conduct one-day and two-day workshops which uses The Speaking with Purpose process as a frame on which we tailor examples and situations relevant to your industry and leadership challenges. You can also order copies of The Speaking with Purpose workbook from us at volume discounts, call us on 021 6101 0486.

All the best,

Feel free to contact us at any time.

Warwick John Fahy and The One Minute Presenter Team

Hong Kong
Level 19 Two International Finance Centre,
8 Finance Street, Central
Hong Kong, China
Tel: +852 3101 7294
Fax: +852 3101 7530

Level 23, Citigroup Tower,
33 Hua Yuan Shi Qiao Road,
Lujiazui, Pudong,
Shanghai 200120

Tel: +86 21 6101 0486
Fax: +86 21 6101 0487
Mob: +86 1391 786 7502

About the Author

Warwick J Fahy

Warwick helps C-level executives, working in multinational companies based in Greater China, who struggle to get their point across and influence their key stakeholders. Warwick helps the executive project their message with confidence allowing them to express their opinions powerfully and gain respect from senior managers even when under pressure.Learn more about who I help here.

Warwick is the author of “The One Minute Presenter: 8 steps to successful business presentations in a short attention span world”.

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