1. Present controversial evidence with just one slide. Throw out your slide deck and try the Extreme Presentation method, developed by Andrew Abela and Paul Radich during years of presentations at Procter & Gamble, McKinsey, and other leading companies. The technique involves first showing the audience the big-picture concept so they’ll immediately have a sense of the problem, and where you’re going. Then zero in on the various issues – no need to plod along through slide after slide.
Ballroom or conference room? Who’s your audience? Let that determine the tone and format of your talk. Here, we’re focused on presenting to executive decision makers, communicating complex information such as market research findings or solutions-oriented sales proposals.
Avoid SME’s disease. As subject matter experts, it’s easy to fall into the trap of going into far more detail than the audience can absorb – and running out of time before reaching the important conclusion. Extreme Presentation helps people avoid that trap by focusing on a single, clear problem or idea. The accompanying handbook, Encyclopedia of Slide Layouts, offers numerous example diagrams for telling a visual story – with names like minefield, process improvement, and patient path. And the website has a 10-step design tool for specifying objectives, sequencing evidence and anecdotes, and measuring success.
Radich recently explained the concept in an excellent webcast, Unleash the Power of Your Data and Evidence With Visual Storytelling. He presented one detailed diagram, and used Prezi to zoom into different sections as he discussed them.
Complication ⇒ Resolution. In the webcast, Abela offered excellent advice on handling audience objections. Rather than wait for Q&A (and going on the defensive), it’s better to address likely concerns during the talk, and resolve each one with an example.
2. What to do with your hands. Distracting gestures can substantially weaken the impact of a presentation. @PowerSpeaking offers several great tips on what to do with your hands during your talk. (Open palms are good.) PowerSpeaking offers well-respected programs designed specifically for polishing executive presentation skills, and they write an excellent blog.