People often blame PowerPoint for bad presentations. I do not. Powerpoint is a fantastic tool, when used to tell a great story. Although no one sets out to give a bad presentation. many fall short.
There are three primary reasons:
1. The presenter is sharing slides and a message that is not his or her own, or a message that is net new, first-time out of the gate.
2. There is no underlying story or outline that follows the basics of good storytelling.
3. The presenter doesn’t evaluate the performance and the outcome, seeking to fine-tune and improve over time, instead falling into repeating the same flawed pitch and a false belief that it is “pretty good” when it is not.
Right after you present, ask yourself these 12 questions and rate yourself and your effort – in writing – on each one:
- Did you capture the audience’s attention in the first 90 seconds?
- Did you establish credibility?
- Did you keep their attention and interest?
- Were you memorable?
- Was your message memorable?
- Did you inspire (usually we look to inspire change)?
- Did you change the audience’s perspective?
- Did you inspire next steps and actions?
- What did people remember?
- Was it entertaining?
- Did you educate and simplify?
- Did you delight the audience?
On any one of these that came up short of a 10, think about ideas for what you could have done better and jot them down. It will help you improve over time. Never present the exact same pitch as long as there is room to improve it. It’s an amazingly effective discipline to develop.