Three questions every presenter or storyteller needs to answer before even starting to prepare their presentation.
As a coach, presenter, and scriptwriter, I often meet people who want me to assist with their presentations. They are clever, successful people, often managers, CEOs, and businessmen or women. They mostly know what they want to achieve.
“I want to be understood,” they often say.
I usually react with three questions, and I insist they give me a concrete and precise answer. Why? Those answers give them clarity on what the real goal of their presentation is and how to achieve it.
Here are the three fundamental questions:
1. What do you want to say? Say it in one sentence.
You know a lot about the topic. Try to summarize it in one sentence, and please keep it simple and crystal clear. The danger is that you may know too much, and you would like to say everything. But you can’t, as you may get easily lost and your listeners confused.
Your listeners will remember only about three pieces of information from the presentation. So make it easier for them to choose the right information to retain.
Write it in one sentence. Once you have it, it will be your guideline for the rest of your presentation. When you get stuck or lost, you may go back to your heading and continue.
2. Who is your listener/reader?
The better you know your audience, the better you can obtain their attention, and there are as many ways to do this as there are people in the world. Look for what your audience may have in common. Is it age, gender, or perhaps professional background? Are they all parents, or are they interested in a specific topic? Use that knowledge to your advantage.
How many people will you address? If you know your listeners, you can make them laugh or get emotionally in touch with them. If you do so, you have won their attention.
3. What should your listeners take away from your presentation?
As mentioned above, your audience will only remember a few pieces of information. To create an impactful presentation, you want to be the one who has control over what the audience remembers.
Therefore, it’s beneficial to clarify and specify the key message of your presentation for yourself before you even start preparing your presentation.
If you answer these three fundamental questions before preparing your presentation, you’ll have more clarity on how to structure your presentation, what words and stories to use, and how to close it.
Answering these questions is a simple yet powerful exercise. Try it!