When you build a deck of presentation slides, how do you keep on track? If you’re like me, I’m sure you’ve sometimes felt pressure (from yourself or some-one else) to include more and more content.
You know, like:
- Background on your topic, even though most of your audience doesn’t care (or already knows it)
- Existing slides on your topic, but which were made for a different purpose
Here’s one great tip that’ll help you resist pressures like those, and it comes in just a
20-second video clip from experienced speaking-coach Jim Endicott:
As Jim suggests:
“Be laser-focused on how your presentation concludes.
Create the last summary slide in your presentation first,
and ask yourself: Do all the slides in my presentation
drive towards those simple conclusions, or are there
frequent rabbit trails that really add no value?”
And if you don’t stay laser-focused while you prepare your talk (over many hours, or even weeks), what hope will your audience have when you briefly present it? After all, you’ve deep knowledge of:
- your topic
- your own presentation of it
- your conclusion.
Think about your audience though: When you start speaking, they’ll at best know some-thing about your topic. But they won’t have a clue how you’ve structured your talk or what your specific conclusion is – unless you tell them.
So to keep yourself on course while you prepare your talk, build your last slide before the rest. And to make your audience’s task easy (and even pleasant!) when you speak:
- Start strong – to tap into people’s hopes or fears about the topic – so they’ll listen.
- Give them a roadmap of where they’ll go during your talk – but in their terms, not yours.
- Throughout your talk, guide them towards a clear conclusion, which you’ve laid out at the end of your slide deck, as Jim Endicott suggests.
What do you think of Jim’s advice? And how do you stay on track and avoid “rabbit trails” when you build a slide deck? I’d love to hear your viewpoint.
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