Friday, June 18, 2010

W5: A Great Presentation Building Strategy

There are a million different techniques to follow to build a presentation. There are a few strategies to build a great one - one that sticks in the mind, changes behavior and makes an impact on the audience. I would like to add to this short list with a strategy called W5.

W5 consists of five "W" questions your audience will be asking throughout your presentation. Great presenters know this and build their content and engagement strategies accordingly.

WHY is this information being presented to me?
Your audience is constantly searching for purpose, outcomes and personal benefits between their life and your content. Make this search easy for them. Present clear connections and use their words, stories and situations whenever possible.

WHEN will I need to use this information?
This question is about future application. Are you presenting material they will need today, tomorrow or at some future point? Clearly answering this question will help your audience place the proper level of urgency (and thus attention) on the connection between your material and their life.

WHAT do you want me to do now to engage in your presenation?
It is critical for you to get clear in your mind how and when you are going to get them emotionally, socially, physically and/or intellectually engaged in the experience of your program. Moving your audience is vital to ensuring content retention, learning and enjoyment, but if you don't provide clear directions, instructions and language, these movement strategies will hinder you more than help you.

WHERE have I experienced this?
This question is about connecting your content with their past. The moment they bridge what you are saying with their life is the moment they relate with, believe in and trust you more.

WHO is an example of what you are telling/teaching me?
Every great communicator leverages the power of stories, people and real life examples. Put a face to your message to make it more relatable, memorable and personal.

W5 is a complex, but simple presentation building strategy. As you can tell, it demands that you intimately know your audience - where they've been, where they're going and what they need today. And that is what makes it great.

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