Within a monarchy, it’s essential to know your role. The same is true for great PowerPoint style slide presentations. Your effectiveness as a presenter will increase royally by understanding the purpose and relationship of 3 key roles: Audience, Presenter, and the Presentation.
Your Audience is King
The only reason your presentation exists is to serve the King (your audience). Too many presentations fail because they are all about the presenter. When this happens, the King will demand your head. A great way to keep your head is to check your ratio of I/we to you. Use the word “you” at least three times as much as the words “I” or “we.”
As you develop the content of your presentation, keep asking yourself, “how does this serve my King?” This will be your filter for deciding what gets included in your presentation.
Your audience is a dubious King who wants to know why he should listen to you. To establish credibility, have someone else introduce you prior to going on “stage.” You must also be likable. Showing authenticity and vulnerability through personal story or self-deprecating humor is effective. The dubious King must then be persuaded why he should adopt your point of view. A combination of logical and emotional argument is best. Once the King likes you, decides to adopt your point view, then you must define the next action for the King to take.
The Presenter is the Star
As the presenter, you are the Star hired to entertain, inform, or persuade the King. The King has come to see you, not your slides. Presenters often make the mistake of thinking their slides are the star. Don’t hide behind your slides believing they will perform for you. If, in your presentation, you simply read your slides, then do everyone a favor by canceling the presentation and send them a PDF. Think of your slides as scenery that supports your performance.
The Star deserves a spotlight. Presenters often make the mistake of turning off the lights to make their slides look better. Remember, you are the Star, not your slides, so make sure you are well lit. This will keep the audience awake and allow them to connect with you. Today’s projectors are powerful enough to project your slides, even in a well lit room.
You need to put on a show. All business is show business. You can still be authentic, but think of your delivery as a heightened version of you. Ramping up your enthusiasm, vocal variety, storytelling, dramatic effect is expected of you. This takes practice and knowledge. If you need help in this area (I certainly did), then I recommend joining a Toastmasters Club. It’s a fun, safe and engaging way to elevate your charisma in front of an audience.
Your Presentation is a Present
As the Star, you are giving a present-ation to the King. The King doesn’t like to be confused. So it must be incredibly clear why you are giving this present, what this present is, how it will benefit Your Majesty, and what the King is supposed to do next with your present.
First, decide what the purpose of your presentation is. As Simon Sinek suggests in his famous TED Talk, start with why. Why are you giving this presentation? Is it to inform, entertain, or persuade? What is your topic? Then develop your unique point of view on that topic, a thesis that will run throughout your presentation.
Stephen Covey’s “Begin With The End in Mind” is a great way to develop presentation content. Consider at least 3 benefits the audience will receive if they adopt your thesis. Once they’ve adopted your thesis, decide what you want your audience to do next. A call to action is a powerful way to end a presentation.
A Star Performer brings a present to the King. This sounds like an intro to a joke. But, if you’ve been there, standing in front of your audience about to begin, you want to be taken seriously. To help you succeed, remember the roles. You are the Star, gifting your presentation (a present), to the King (your audience). Do this, and the crown will become yours.