…As top management consultants, we deliver most of our work in presentations. From the proposal pitch throughout sharing first hypotheses and intermediate results, convincing stakeholders up to giving a presentation on final conclusions and recommendations to a steering committee. All of these are presentations whether we use a formal slide presentation or free speech, whether we talk to a group or one-on-one.
A good preparation of these presentations is key and everybody knows that. Yet, I see a lot of effort put into the content while the power of a rehearsal is untapped. Only few teams and individuals acutally take the time for a proper rehearsal.
Of course, good content is the foundation of every presentation. Deep analytics, rigorous problem solving, creative thinking, and logical conclusions are crucial to every presentation. This work has to be done professionally without any doubt.
Once the content is clear, I see presenters spending a lot of time and effort in structuring the presentation, choosing the right words and graphs, adding pictures, polishing colors and so on. This is also quite important. While the polishing often goes on to the last minute before the presentation, a proper rehearsal is skipped in most cases.
This is a great mistake. While content, structure, and appearance are certainly tablestakes to every presentation, there are some additional elements of equal importance. These include
- good connection between presenter and audience
- projection of self-confidency
- fluency and flawless execution (esp. when more than one presenter is involved
- projection of a positive attitude
The above are most important elements for building a trustful atmosphere to move and convince the audience. This is why we do a presentation in the first place, otherwise we could just pass on a written document. Achieving these features takes a lot of general training and experience. It does also require specific training for the individual presentation. This is done by a proper rehearsal.
I will cover the key features of an effective rehearsal in next week’s TNF.
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