Hi! My name is Angie Ficek and I am a program evaluator at Professional Data Analysts, Inc., a small firm in Minneapolis, MN specializing in public health evaluation. At least year’s AEA conference I had the great pleasure of attending Stephanie Evergreen’s session on presentation message, sponsored by AEA’s Potent Presentations Initiative (p2i). The session was all about the key elements of a presentation and how to structure a presentation in order to engage your audience and get your message across clearly.
- One key takeaway that has forever changed my presentations is to spend way less time on background information. For a 15 minute presentation you shouldn’t even spend a whole minute on background. Whoa. This is so you can set the stage for your presentation but then quickly get on to the good stuff.
- Another tip I learned is to have a “bottom line” and provide that bottom line early on in your presentation, not at the end. This makes your audience aware of what you’re going to be talking about. Then they can either wait on the edge of their seat for you to talk more about the point of interest, or they can leave because they see you’re not going to cover what they are interested in.
- Finally, rather than ending your presentation after the Q & A, include one more slide that serves as a “call to action” for your audience. What do you want the audience to do next as a result of hearing your presentation? This ends your presentation with more energy and helps drive home the message rather than dwindling out after a Q & A session.
As I was putting together this post, I went to the p2i website only to find that you can actually watch Evergreen’s presentation on message. I definitely encourage you to check it out and apply what you learn to your next presentation for a client, stakeholder, conference, etc.
You can also download the Messaging Model Handout from the p2i Tools webpage, which will help you map out your presentation message.
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