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Making Your Presentation Worth the Cost

Making Your Presentation Worth the Cost

    Let’s face it, no matter what your business is, or who you work for, the chances are that you’ve been on the receiving end of bad presentations. My working definition of a bad presentation here is one that costs more than it saves or makes for the organization involved. If it’s a business presentation, that’s obviously the company employing whoever the presentation involves – there’s always (almost always) someone who’s responsible.

    Of course, it’s hard to work out how much a presentation will save or make for the organization in the long run: on the other hand, the costs are pretty easy to calculate. Firstly take the hourly rate of pay for everyone in the room and double it – because that’s what it costs the company. Now add the double-day-rate costs for each hour the presenter spent getting things ready. Finally, add the obvious costs for room rent, refreshments and any travel costs for everyone. It won’t be long before such presentations begin to cost thousands of dollars an hour. And that’s before you add in the costs of lowered productivity and damaged moralle.

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    And yet a cost-effective presentation isn’t difficult. You don’t have to be great – just good enough to justify your costs!

    All a presenter has to do in a presentation is think of two things.

    • What do I need to tell my audience?
    • How do I need to tell them it?

    Whatever else you do, or don’t do in your presentation should be measured up against those two simple criteria. The Devil is in the details, of course, and sometimes it’s hard to know how to answer those two questions – to be honest, most presenters don’t even bother to ask them so if you do, you’ve a good chance of being a cost-effective presenter.

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    Less is more

    The more a presenter tells his or her audience, the less chance there is of them remembering any given thing they’re told. With that in mind, it’s not hard to get the idea that you should filter out everything – and I mean everything – that isn’t your absolute core message.

    For every slide, for every paragraph, every image, ask yourself, one slide at a time, “Does this give my audience something they need to know?” If it does, fine. If it doesn’t, ditch it. Once you’ve done that filtering, give yourself a break that’s long enough to mean you come back to the material with a fresh mind-set – and do another filter.

    Two hours doing something else is minimum. Two filters is usually enough because of the next point.

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    Too much is never enough

    Only experts make presentations. By definition if you’re giving the presentation you know more about your presentation than anyone else. That almost always means you know more about the material, too, so don’t be put off by thinking other people know more than you do. That’s great. What it can mean, if you’re not careful, however, is that you begin to take things for granted that your audience needs to know.

    They won’t know your jargon, they won’t know your workings and they won’t know any of your assumptions, that is unless you tell them.

    Once you’ve done your filtering do your checking for assumptions. Just like you went through every slide and every paragraph and every image, go through them again and ask yourself what each is built on. If it’s not built on the previous paragraph or slide then at the very least it’s in the wrong place.

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    More likely, however, is the problem that you’ve taken something for granted, something that your audience probably won’t know about. You need to put that – whatever it is – into your presentation.

    What’s next?

    Not much, to be honest – there’s a whole load of tips and tricks for moving your presentations from ‘good enough’ to ‘good’ but from the point of view of your boss, ‘good enough’ is exactly that. And you can bet your bottom dollar that your boss measures ‘good enough’ as not costing more than it’s worth.

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    Last Updated on July 3, 2020

    30 Small Habits To Lead A More Peaceful Life

    30 Small Habits To Lead A More Peaceful Life

    In today’s world, true peace must come from within us and our own actions. Here are 30 small things you can do on a regular basis to increase your overall sense of harmony, peace, and well-being:

    1. Don’t go to every fight you’re invited to

    Particularly when you’re around those who thrive on chaos, be willing to decline the invitation to join in on the drama.

    2. Focus on your breath

    Throughout the day, stop to take a few deep breaths. Keep stress at bay with techniques such as “square breathing.” Breathe in for four counts, hold for four counts, then out for four counts, and hold again for four counts. Repeat this cycle four times.

    3. Get organized and purge old items

    A cluttered space often creates a cluttered spirit. Take the time to get rid of anything you haven’t used in a year and invest in organizational systems that help you sustain a level of neatness.

    4. Stop yourself from being judgmental

    Whenever you are tempted to have an opinion about someone else’s life, check your intentions. Judging others creates and promotes negative energy.

    5. Say ‘thank you’ early and often

    Start and end each day with an attitude of gratitude. Look for opportunities in your daily routine and interactions to express appreciation.

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    6. Smile more

    Even if you have to “fake it until you make it,” there are many scientific benefits of smiling and laughing. Also, pay attention to your facial expression when you are doing neutral activities such as driving and walking. Turn that frown upside down!

    7. Don’t worry about the future

    As difficult as this sounds, there is a direct connection between staying in the present and living a more peaceful life. You cannot control the future. As the old proverb goes, “Worry is like a rocking chair. It gives you something to do, but it won’t get you anywhere.” Practice gently bringing your thoughts back to the present.

    8. Eat real food

    The closer the food is to the state from which it came from the earth, the better you will feel in eating it. Choose foods that grew from a plant over food that was made in a plant.

    9. Choose being happy over being right

    Too often, we sacrifice inner peace in order to make a point. It’s rarely worth it.

    10. Keep technology out of the bedroom

    Many studies, such as one conducted by Brigham and Women’s Hospital, have connected blue light of electronic devices before bed to adverse sleep and overall health. To make matters worse, many people report that they cannot resist checking email and social media when their cell phone is in reach of their bed, regardless of the time.

    11. Make use of filtering features on social media

    You may not want to “unfriend” someone completely, however you can choose whether you want to follow their posts and/or the sources of information that they share.

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    12. Get comfortable with silence

    When you picture someone who is the ultimate state of peace, typically they aren’t talking.

    13. Listen to understand, not to respond

    So often in conversations, we use our ears to give us cues about when it is our turn to say what we want to say. Practice active listening, ask questions, process, then speak.

    14. Put your troubles in a bubble

    Whenever you start to feel anxious, visualize the situation being wrapped in a bubble and then picture that sphere floating away.

    15. Speak more slowly

    Often a lack of peace manifests itself in fast or clipped speech. Take a breath, slow down, and let your thoughtful consideration drive your words.

    16. Don’t procrastinate

    Nothing adds stress to our lives like waiting until the last minute.

    17. Buy a coloring book

    Mandala coloring books for adults are becoming more popular because of their connection to creating inner peace.

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    18. Prioritize yourself

    You are the only person who you are guaranteed to live with 24 hours a day for the rest of your life.

    19. Forgive others

    Holding a grudge is hurting you exponentially more than anyone else. Let it go.

    20. Check your expectations

    Presumption often leads to drama. Remember the old saying, “Expectations are premeditated resentments.”

    21. Engage in active play

    Let your inner child come out and have some fun. Jump, dance, play, and pretend!

    22. Stop criticizing yourself

    The world is a hard enough place with more than enough critics. Your life is not served well by being one of them.

    23. Focus your energy and attention on what you want

    Thoughts, words, and actions all create energy. Energy attracts like energy. Put out what you want to get back.

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    24. Assign yourself “complaint free” days.

    Make a conscious decision not to complain about anything for a whole day. It might be harder than you think and the awareness will stick with you.

    25. Surround yourself with people you truly enjoy being in the company of

    Personalities tend to be contagious, and not everyone’s is worth catching. Be judicious in your choices.

    26. Manage your money

    Financial concerns rank top on the list of what causes people stress. Take the time each month to do a budget, calculate what you actually spend and sanity check that against the money you have coming in.

    27. Stop trying to control everything

    Not only is your inner control freak sabotaging your sense of peace, it is also likely getting in the way of external relationships as well.

    28. Practice affirmations

    Repeat positive phrases that depict the life and qualities you want to attract. It may not come naturally to you, but it works.

    29. Get up before sunrise

    Personally witnessing the dawn brings a unique sense of awe and appreciation for life.

    30. Be yourself

    Nothing creates more inner discord than trying to be something other than who we really are. Authenticity breeds happiness.

    Featured photo credit: man watching sunrise via stokpic.com

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