Over the past month I have been working with a team of executives as they prepare to launch a new and groundbreaking product . . . exciting news with high-stakes impact. How this message is presented can be a defining moment, influencing how this product is perceived in the market place as well as Wall Street.
If you’re facing a high-stakes situation of your own the question becomes, “What makes some presentations ho-hum and others remarkable?” To ensure that your next big presentation packs a punch, here’s our four-step process for cracking the presentation C.O.D.E.®
Step 1: Clarify
- Gather information to identify, clarify, and develop your unique perspective on the presentation
- Talk with potential listeners and find out what they want to know or hear
- Repeatedly ask yourself this question (or similar “what” questions) until you can answer it in one simple sentence: “If my audience can only remember one thing, what should it be?”
Your unique perspective should be so simple that every person who leaves your presentation can repeat it. A holistic nutritionist I was coaching came up with a terrific central idea for a workshop she was delivering to investment bankers. Her core message, “Everything you eat contributes to your bottom line,” had a high “sticky factor” because it spoke directly to her audience.
Another memorable example came from a researcher who specialized in competitive intelligence for the financial community — calling bonds “the nerds of your portfolio.” Again, a core message that was clever, targeted, and directional.
Step 2: Organize
- Group your content into digestible bits of information with a logical structure
- Make sure everything maps back to your unique perspective
A team I worked with was introducing marketing tools available to their sales reps. It was tempting for them to share a laundry list of the 10 different tools. Valuable information, but it is important to keep in mind that listeners usually lose track after five. What could they do? Simply grouping the tools into “chunks” — print, electronic, and social media, in the case of this example — will give the audience a structure to grasp what is being discussed.
Step 3: Develop
- Media should help listeners visually grasp what is being discussed
- Less is more; don’t bore your audience with more visuals (or text) than needed
Once you’ve clarified and organized your information, it’s time to consider the best way to incorporate any media. A well-done PowerPoint supports and adds depth to your story. Learn more about our R.S.V.P.™ method that shares tips on designing compelling visual aids.
Step 4: Express
- Tell your story with enthusiasm
- Use an easy, natural style of presenting
Too many presenters adopt an artificial style or try to imitate someone else. Worse, they steamroll ahead in an effort to just “get through it”. Relax, slow down, and connect with your audience. Your authenticity will result in a memorable presentation.
Be the Message
By using the four-step C.O.D.E.® process outlined above, you will truly “own” your message. So now what? Practice, of course, and stay committed to making sure your audience truly “gets” what you are saying.
If you’re sincere and authentic, your audience can’t help but share your enthusiasm — and wonder how you cracked the code.