How to plan a presentation

'How to plan a presentation' is a question not asked enough by presenters. It is often said that 'it's the start that stops most people'. That is certainly true when it comes to planning a presentation. Many presenters believe they will be able to 'wing it'on the day, or will hurriedly scribble some last minute notes and work from those. Both strategies leave getting your key messages across to your audience to chance.

Recognise this approach?

You open powerpoint, or an equivalent software package and start putting slides together; your presentation comes together somewhat organically, rearranging slides as new presentation ideas come to you.

Alternatively, you stare at a blank page for ages waiting for inspiration to come.

Stephen Covey in 

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People

Suggests it is a good idea to begin with the end in mind. This also applies well when you are thinking about how to plan your presentation.

First things first. Decide the purpose of your presentation.

Whether you are wanting to make an effective business presentation, or have been asked to give a talk to a group or society, knowing your purpose is the first step.

Are you seeking to inform, persuade, influence, get a decision, or entertain? You might have elements of several of these things, but one is likely to be your prime purpose.

Write it down, and then answer the following questions:

How to plan your presentation using 3 simple questions.

Question 1

If you had only 30 seconds to make your presentation, what is the one point you want to leave with your audience?

Once you have a clear, short point move on.

Question 2

If you had an additional 30 seconds and could leave your audience remembering a second point - what would it be?

Again, once you have a short and clear point move on.

(Bet you can't guess the final question)

Question 3

You have an another 30 seconds and are able to make a third and final point. What will it be?

How ever long your presentation, you will have done very well if you have left your audience clearly remembering three key points.

So, how do you plan a presentation? You start by clearly and succinctly answering these three questions. Your answers will underpin the decisions you make in the rest of your presentation planning.

You are now ready to start the next step of planning a presentation.