Okay, so, if you google preparing a killer presentation there’s like a million and one hits, so why one more post? Because I’m not going to tell you it’s all about your power point, the clothes you wear, or how you use a microphone. I won’t help you chose between Zoom, Google Meetings, or Microsoft teams for your virtual presentation. All of those things are important, but together they won’t make for a killer presentation. Preparing a killer presentation is more personal.

4 Steps to Preparing a Killer Presentation

1. Memorize Names, Faces, and Responsibilities

While presenting to a small business on leadership, I went around the table and recognized each of the dozen or so attendees by name and their position within the organization. Before any meeting that I facilitate with an organization, I go to their website and look at their about page. Most about pages include a meet the team section with photos and titles. Last year I presented to a leadership organization with more than 30 active members. I greeted most of them by name.

I attended a small business lecture sponsored by a local financial institute; there were ten attendees. The speaker introduced herself and then went around the table with introductions and an icebreaker. Later she attempted to engage individuals, which is a good thing. However, she would call on people by their clothing, for example, “Orange sweater, what would you do?” Yea.

2. Engage Your Audience

I conducted a leadership development meeting with a group of 11 managers’ last week. It was the third presentation I’d given to this group. Near the end, one of the attendees told me how much she enjoyed my presentations. I asked her why and she said, “Because the hour goes by fast and is never boring.” I followed up by asking her how I accomplished this and she said, “Because you ask us questions.”

Conversely, I attended a discussion where the facilitator spent the first 15 minutes lecturing, and then took over the conversation, occasionally asking leading questions such as, “You agree, don’t you?”

Engaging your audience isn’t complicated, ask them questions, learn what they know, and help them solve problems.

3. Create a Call to Action

How many meetings, seminars, conferences, and presentations have you sat through where little or nothing was done but talk? You can’t talk stuff done. I begin nearly every meeting with a CTA, which is sharing my goal for the meeting that each attendee take-away one action to commit to implementing. I conclude most sessions by asking each attendee for their action plan, making note of the plans, and then following up or giving the list to the team’s leader.

4. Have Fun

Have you ever begun a meeting with an icebreaker? It’s a fun way to get a meeting started. I attended a meeting with eight others where the meeting leader divided the attendees into three teams. Each was given a deck of cards and then told they had five minutes to build the tallest card house possible. It was interesting to watch these leaderless groups in action, how they innovated, communicated, and worked together. It was fun.

I like to poke fun at myself when I’m presenting. At a meeting I was giving I admitted I had deleted the word “rural” from my outline because it was difficult for me to pronounce. I went on to awkwardly attempt to say it. The group laughed with me; several shared that it was difficult for them as well and it helped us bond.

Preparing a Killer Presentation

Creating a killer presentation is more than writing an outline and producing visuals – nothing wrong with that, it’s just that many presenters think that’s what it takes to create a killer presentation. The outline and visuals are only the beginning. Regardless of how professional they are if you don’t know your audience, engage them, send a call to action, and have fun then you might have a good presentation, but not a memorable one. Do you want to kill your next presentation? If so you know what to do.

How Can I Help?

I like to help people and organizations, but I have three criteria I consider before taking an assignment – I believe in what the organization stands for, I know I can help, and it looks like fun. If you have any questions, Contact Me. 

Would you like to learn more about adding action to your words? If so you might enjoy my book, You Can’t Talk Shit Done.

Photo by Matthew Osborn on Unsplash