In order to best prepare for your presentation, you need to decide how important it is to you. There’s a big difference between low-stakes and a high-stakes situation, and how much you prepare should reflect that. But more importantly, realize that you are the one who decides how important a particular presentation is to you.
At the minimum, you need to prepare three things. First, understand your audience: who your presentation is for, and what you want them to do. Second, know what are you going to say to them and how you’re going to get that to happen (lean on the Red Thread here for help). Third, think about how you’re going to present that message. What is it going to look and sound like? Take the time to talk it through and get an idea of how you’re going to say it, so you can benefit from hearing it out loud.
Remember, it’s not just the steps, it’s the stakes. You determine how important a presentation is to you, and that affects how you should prepare. Talk through the three steps, figure out your Goal, Problem, Truth, Change, and Action, and you’ll be well on your way to giving a great presentation, big or small.
- The 3 Types of Messages – EP030
- Why Your Messages Break When You Say Them Out Loud (And How to Fix Them) – EP050
- TraPIT – An Easy Way to Keep Your Audience With You – EP051
- Focus on the GOAL: Why Your Audience Needs an “Irresistible Outcome” – EP053
– There’s a question I sometimes get and it’s this. “Tamsen, do I really have to do all of this work to prepare for a simple presentation or a message?” Quick answer is no. Longer answer, stay tuned. I’m Tamsen Webster of TamsenWebster.com. This is Find the Red Thread. Please like and subscribe.
When you’re trying to figure out how to prepare for my presentation or how to build better presentations, you start to look at all those steps. And you start to say to yourself that’s a lot. Everything from who’s it for and what do they want.
And what I’m supposed to get them to do, and what do I need to tell them, and how am I going to say it? How am I going to support it? What am I going to show, where am I going to move? I mean, it’s a lot. I get it. And I don’t like to do all those steps either.
So here’s what it comes down to. That there’s not just the number of steps in the presentation preparation it’s also the stakes of the presentation to you. How important is that particular presentation to you and what you’re trying to accomplish? At the low end, you might just be talking to somebody about where you want to go for dinner. That’s pretty low stakes. Probably don’t need a Red Thread for that.
But let’s say that you are pitching to venture capitalists as an entrepreneur and trying to get the funding to start your dream business. Well, that’s pretty high stakes. So that’s a place where you’re going to wan to make sure you do a lot of work.
But no matter what, you determine the stakes. You determine what’s important to you. You determine how important any particular presentation is to you. Which means you determine which of the steps need more or less attention and even which of the steps you need to do at all.
So, yes, it can be a very detailed process. I can spend up to 12 weeks with a company or a person just coming up with one presentation. But I can also just spend a couple minutes writing down what are the key concepts for, let’s say, this particular video on hey, a sheet like this, and just write it down really quickly. And it’s enough to get me started.
So what is the bare minimum that we need to do? Well, I think there’s really three things and the first is to understand who’s it for. What do you want them to do. Right, audience. Audience and your goals. That’s the first thing.
So at the extensive end, at the high stakes preparation end, you can do a whole series of questions. I have 12 to 15 that I ask my clients that we go through to really get in-depth. We find out about who are these people, what are they struggling with, what do they think the problem is, what do you think the problem is? What do they value, how’s that going to affect how they’re going to respond to what you’re going to say. All of those questions.
But at the low stakes end, you can just say, well, who’s it for? What do they care about? Why would they do the thing that I’m asking them to do? Just, who is it that I want to get an answer from? Who is it that I want to get a yes from? So that’s audience, that’s the first thing.
The second thing is what are you going to say to them? How are you going to get that to happen? And that’s just structuring the message that you’re going to give them.
That’s where I hope the Red Thread gives you a really easy baseline to figure out what that is. Because yes, at the bare minimum, the minimal you need to prepare is just what I just showed you. Just write down quickly something that indicates to you what’s the Goal, the Problem, the Truth, the Change, and the Action for this particular message.
At the high end, yeah, it’s figuring out what those are, really working on the language of them, spreading them out, filling in what’s all the different support in between. Thinking to yourself, what do people have to understand and agree with? Thinking about how are you going to support it working on the script? All of that.
But at the bare minimum, just understand that those five pillars, Goal, Problem, Truth, Change, Action, can give you the basis to prepare for any size message and any size presentation.
The third thing to think about is simply well, how are you going to now present that message? So we’ve got audience, we’ve got the structure of the message itself, and then what does it actually look and sound like. At the lowest stakes, you don’t have to figure out what exactly you’re going to say. You don’t have to even necessarily rehearse it. Though I recommend talking it out a little bit.
Ultimately it just comes down to how are you going to say it, how are you going to show it? Is there a story you could tell? Is there some particular question you could ask? Really it’s just talking it through. What’s the way that you’re going to get that structure across?
At the high preparation end, yes, of course, you’re going to be very thoughtful about what are the stories, what’s the statistics, what are the support, what’s the evidence that I need to prepare?
You may even go through talking it through. Getting a really comfortable script. Even if you don’t write it, you don’t have to write it. Just talk it out and figure out what is it, how is it, that you’re going to say it.
Because as we’ve talked about in previous episodes, you do have to say it in order to understand how it’s going to be heard. So you do need to practice it out loud a little bit. Whether it’s low stakes or whether it’s high stakes.
The message of all of this comes down to a really simple thing. It’s not just the steps it’s the stakes. Since you determine those, you determine how many steps you need to prepare. And at the base, at the least, least, least amount, just figure out that Goal, Problem, Truth, Change, Action. Because if you do, you really can’t help but figure out everything else. So that’s the real secret.
So, next time you prepare for a presentation together ask yourself what are the stakes? How important is this to me? And then determine exactly what you need to prepare, what you think you need, to get the yes to those stakes for you. That’s this week’s episode of Find the Red Thread. Thanks so much for listening or watching. Share it online, tell a friend, and most importantly like and subscribe.