The most common type of business presentation is the presentation to inform. Every week in our careers, perhaps even every day, we listen to presenters give us information ranging from status reports, to procedural guidelines, to policy changes. For many of us, the majority of the presentations that we give fall into this category, in one way or another.
Some individuals are very competent in giving clear presentations to inform. We leave the presentation with a clear understanding of the message, the desired end result, and key points that we need to remember. On the other hand, many presentations to inform are disorganized and hard to follow. We leave with only a vague idea of the point of the presentation.
Successful presentations should have a clear message, an engaged audience, and all relevant points should be covered.
The structure in presenting to inform should adhere to the following steps:
Opening: Statement of Topic. This statement should be brief and clear. It leaves no question in the listeners’ minds as to the topic of the presentation. This is especially true when the presentation is part of a longer series of presentations, such as a staff meeting or full-day training.
State Key Message: Desired End Result. This statement should give the audience a clear picture of the main message of your presentation. It is simple, direct, and tells the audience where you are going with this information. It should answer this question in your audience’s mind: “Why should I listen to this presentation?”
Key Points and Results. These points should be stated in straightforward language. They clearly express the result of taking the recommended action. In general, the fewer words, the better when stating our key points and results.
Closing: Restate Key Message and Desired End Result. To emphasize the key message of your presentation to inform, summarize by restating the key message or the desired end result of your presentation. This leaves your listeners with a message that they will remember long after the presentation.
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