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Presentation Planning in 5 Easy Steps

Preparing for a high-stakes presentation is often stressful.

With so many different factors to consider, presenters might find themselves feeling pressured to create a memorable and efficient pitch. Planning then becomes a process that might involve a lot of frustration.

If you’re stressed out about that big presentation your boss recently assigned, there’s an easy way to keep your presentation planning organized.

By focusing on these five guidelines, you’ll be able to work through the process one detail at a time:

1.) How do you want the audience to react? 

As a presenter, it’s your responsibility to leave the audience with a favorable impression. The points you discuss should stand even after you’ve finished your speech.

As you prepare to draft the points you want to cover, ponder on how you want the audience to react to what you share.

Do you want them to feel inspired? Do you want them to be persuaded to take concrete action?

Whatever you decide, focusing on your desired effect will help you set the overall tone of your presentation.

2.) What do you want the audience to remember? 

Another thing to consider is your presentation’s key takeaway.

Think of it as your presentation’s premise. It’s a simple idea that can accurately describe all the points and arguments you want to discuss.

Again, consider the one idea you want your audience to leave the venue with.

To get an exact statement, think about the topic you’re covering and figure out how much of it will be included in the scope of your discussion.

3.) What will happen as a result of your presentation? 

According to public speaking guru, Stephen Boyd, establishing a sense of direction from the get-go is essential in guiding your listeners over your presentation. This also effectively captures people’s attentions, because it gives your pitch structure and meaning.

For that, always keep your desired outcome in mind.

Should everything go smoothly, what is your ideal scenario? Whether it’s to close in on a deal or impress upper management, use this as a guide on to act on the day itself.

What can you do to help convince the audience of your message’s credibility? What should you say if things fall apart and you have to salvage the situation?

4.) How can you motivate the audience to take action? 

With an intended outcome in mind, you can zero in on how to motivate your audience to take action.

At this stage, you need to consider their perspective. If you can learn what you can about their goals, you can tailor your presentation for them.

In this way, it will be easier to reach out and push them toward the results you want to see.

5.) How will you involve them in your discussion? 

Finally, it will help if you can think of ways to increase audience engagement in your presentation. It’s important to establish rapport with the audience and make them feel involved in your presentation. No one wants to sit through an hour long monologue.

According to leading venture capitalist, Marc Cenedella, knowing your audience is essential in engaging them and avoiding miscommunication during your presentation. To do this, periodically ask your listeners if they have questions or comments.

When they do participate, be open to hear an opinion that’s different from your own.

If you can, refer to the points they bring up as you move your discussion.

Presentation planning can be a lot of work. However, you can get an easy start by asking yourself these key questions. At the end of the day, what truly matters is that you deliver a presentation that results into positive action from your audience.



Audience Participation: 4 Crucial Questions to Answer.” SlideGenius, Inc. August 28, 2014. Accessed February 18, 2015.
Cenedella, Marc. “Know Your Audience.” The Ladders. Accessed February 18, 2015.
Fine-tuning Your Presentation’s Core Message.” SlideGenius, Inc. November 11, 2014. Accessed January 12, 2016.
Producing Powerful Presentations.” SBoyd. Accessed February 18, 2015.


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