Six considerations for preparing an effective presentation

I came across a paper prepared by Bill Rosenthal, CEO of Communispond, and a fellow I interviewed years ago on my radio program, Boomtown Business (click here to listen)

He suggests there are six keys to making an effective presentation that will serve a public speaker well in any communication situation, whether in front of a large audience or a team meeting.

What follows is a brief synopsis of Rosenthal’s prescription. To read his full treatment on the subject, click here.

  1. Identify your goal. What are you seeking to do? When the meeting, you want the audience to do what?
  2. Analyze the audience. Try to identify their level of understanding of your topic, so you won’t end up talking down to them or, conversely, over their heads.
  3. Structure the message. Keep it short. Audiences today have shorter attention spans than in the past. Generally, a presentation should not be longer than 20 minutes, plus time for the Q&A.
  4. Choose your visuals. Visuals are appropriate in some situations, such as when you are presenting complex material. They may not be needed if your message is intended to inspire and motivate. In those cases the audience’s full attention should be on you.
  5. Rehearse with realism. To inspire any group you must come across as credible, confident and likable, someone who shares the audience’s values and feels their pain. The best way to do this is to put passion into your message. You cannot express passion if you speak from a script. Practice to the point where you can speak spontaneously.
  6. Prepare for the Q&A. Identify the questions you are likely to be asked by audience members, and rehearse your responses to the Q&A session, as well as the formal part of your presentation.


Mike Consol teaches public speaking, PowerPoint presentation skills and business writing workshops to companies and business professionals. Contact him at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) or 925-449-1040.

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