What’s your message?
You might think it’s odd to use the word uncover in this context. If someone has to give a presentation then surely they know what they want to say?
Well not always. Sometimes, they know the gist of what they want to cover or they know what the topic of the presentation or pitch should be. Many, though, often find it hard to see underneath all that and get to the nub of what their key message is.
A key message has 2 parts:
- What they want the audience to take away from this communication and do with it
- And Why (from the audience’s perspective – so why could that what be important and helpful to them)
Without really knowing what the key message, presentations often lose their way, they become a jumble of different points which don’t really go anywhere and just confuse or dull the audience.
And let’s face it, who really wants to intentionally bore an audience? Doing so only impacts on our professional reputation and even that of our business. We’re unlikely to impress them and we’re certainly not going to get their support or business if we do. No, in standing up to give a presentation (whether we like doing them or not) we usually want to engage and interest the people we’re speaking to.
The Eureka moment
Uncovering the key message can be a bit of a ‘eureka!’ moment in the preparation of a presentation. It can help you to:
a) Make your introduction (the crucial moment when you’re most nervous and the audience is most attentive) easier to tackle. The key message will help you to you know exactly why you’re presenting and what you want the audience to gain from it
b) Give your presentation a more logical structure so you can tell the audience 1) what the key point is, then 2) convince them why it is important to them, then 3) reiterate what the key point was and 4) what the actions for them are stemming from this
c) Cut out the waffle and keep you focused
d) Ensure you pick relevant examples, case studies and stories to convince your audience of the Why part of the message
e) Build genuine passion and interest into your presentation, which in turn will impress the audience and keep them alert
f) Make sure your presentation is simple, clear and interesting to experience
So, if you are faced with a presentation and are struggling to put it together. Consider what your key message is. Ideally, try and limit it to one per presentation as you may risk confusing the audience or overwhelming them.
One final thing
And one final tip. Uncovering your key message will make the preparation and delivery of your presentation a much more enjoyable experience for you. To make the delivery really enjoyable for your audience, rehearse, rehearse, rehearse and, oh yes, rehearse again.