According to communications specialist Rajeshwari Ramachandran, a strongly-crafted message in your presentation will persuade the audience to react favourably
Rajeshwari Ramachandran is a communications specialist. With a Masters degree from Tata Institute of Social Sciences and over 11 years of experience in the Human Resources field, she now specialises in the space of presentations and wants to change the way people think, design and deliver presentations, one slide a time.
When asked to make a presentation, 90 per cent people open their laptops to see if they already have a presentation they can reuse, or just start preparing the PowerPoint slides afresh. And herein begins their downfall.
A good presentation has just three elements – message (your idea), design (your slides or charts or demo) and delivery (you, the presenter).
And these three should ideally happen in the order I have listed. But unfortunately, most people jump to step two without giving enough time and thought to step one.
I’ll tell you what you should pay attention to if you want to craft a compelling message.
Your message needs to persuade
What is a message? Is your product/service your key message? Is the new process your key message? Partly, yes. However, the message you want to communicate through your presentation is shaped by the objective of your presentation and the audience you will be presenting to.
There could be different objectives for any presentation – to educate, to update/inform etc. But 80 per cent of presentations are persuasive – you could be a startup founder presenting to a VC to persuade them to invest in your company, you could be a sales person persuading a client to buy your CRM software, you could be an HR person persuading management to adopt a process, or you could be a factory manager presenting a proposal to top management seeking to purchase new machinery.
Most presentations fail because people don’t define their objective sharply enough. The intent is to ‘persuade but make a presentation that is focussed on ‘update’ and thus give all the inputs that your stakeholder needs to make a decision.
What the audience wants
The other element to consider before you create the message is your audience — what are their needs that my idea can fulfil? What are their challenges which my product or service can solve? What do they want and how can my product give them that?
Often, we take a standard product or service presentation to every client without giving much thought to what the audience needs. So if you are an entrepreneur, are you addressing the hot buttons that matter to your potential investor?
While selling a CRM software, have you tried to understand the pain point of the client or even the industry? The value proposition for a big player could be very different from that of a small player.
So next time when you are asked to prepare a presentation, don’t immediately whip out your laptop; instead take a pen and paper and write answers to the following questions:
1. What do I want my audience to do as a result of my presentation?
2. Who is my audience– its demographics and concerns, the challenges its is facing and its needs?
3. How can I convince the audience that my product/service addresses its requirement?
And I guarantee you, your presentation will be a winner if it answers them all.
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