Is your presentation worth delivering?

This happens somewhere every day.

The boss says “I want you to take ten minutes at the next meeting and update the team on the big launch project.”

As it turns out the “launch project” is on time and on budget so there isn’t much to talk to the team about. But you dutifully create a ten minute presentation and spend hours putting together a power point deck to deliver a ten minute presentation that no one listens to.

Why does no one listen? Because you are not trying to achieve anything with the presentation, it has no purpose.

You might say “well the purpose is to inform the group on the status of the launch project.”

And that’s exactly why no one will listen. A presentation that is designed to inform is boring and that presentation is a complete waste of time. Time is wasted designing the presentation content, time is wasted designing power point slides and time is wasted at the meeting because no one hears the presentation that’s delivered.

Here are some alternatives to the informative presentation:

The first alternative is to let your boss know that the “launch project” is on time and on budget and as a result you won’t need ten minutes to deliver an update. Instead, suggest to your boss that you deliver a two minute update and after that update you’ll answer any questions the team might have.

The second alternative is to design a presentation that tries to achieve something because a presentation with a purpose is one that people will listen to.

For example: “Currently the launch project is on time and on budget but…if any of the following three things happen then we’ll be knocked off schedule and we’ll come in at least two weeks late. Let’s talk about how we make sure these three things don’t happen.”

Or: “Currently the launch project is on time and on budget but…if we can do the following three things we’ll bring it in 20% under budget. Let’s talk about how we can accomplish those three things.”

Those presentations will grab the attention of the audience because they have a purpose. You are trying to accomplish something you are trying to drive a change in behavior. That kind of presentation is compelling and has value.

A presentation that has no purpose is not worth delivering. Rather than “informing” your audience find a purpose to achieve…or don’t present at all.

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