One of the most popular posts continues to be Randy Mayeux’s 2 Ways to Guarantee a Failed Presentation. As he correctly explains, a presentation will fail if has little or nothing worthwhile to say, or, even if the content is worthwhile, it is delivered very, very poorly. There is a third reason: Even if its content is solid and delivered well, a presentation will fail is it is not persuasive. I know that Randy includes being persuasive among the attributes of a well-delivered presentation but I think it is so important that it requires special emphasis.
Are you preparing an important presentation? Does public speaking make your face flush and your heart race? Are you struggling to create a concise, powerful argument? Packed with practical advice on everything from structuring content to overcoming stage fright, this guide — Power, Influence, and Persuasion: Sell Your Ideas and Make Things Happen (Harvard Business Essentials) — will give you the tools and confidence you need to master public speaking. Whether your audience is a small group of well-known colleagues or a larger gathering of less-familiar prospective clients or board executives, learn how to: shape your information to specifically address your audience’s needs; prepare visual aids that develop, not distract from, your points; and grab your listeners’ attention and hold it.
Here is anoher excellent source that I highly recommend, also available in a paperbound edition:
Over the years, I have prepared and then made hundreds of presentations, meanwhile making just about every mistake that can be made. Here’s my own checklist:
1. Is the information provided both sufficient and relevant?
2. Have I made the significant details vivid, anchored in human experience?
3. Have I made effective use of various storytelling devices such as plot and conflict?
4. Are my logic sound and my evidence convincing?
One final point: Know when to stop. It is better, far better for the members of the audience to want more when you conclude. Tell them what time it is. If they want to know how to make a watch, you can always provide that information later. My own experience indicates that, by then, there is no longer any interest in such details.