In this post, I’m going to give you a framework you can use to quickly plan any presentation that still packs a punch. We all want to save time, right? But at the same time, we want to give an excellent presentation.
You might also like:
- Why you should learn to give your presentation in one sentence
- Use a back pocket question to overcome being blocked
First, reflect on who is your audience, what is your presentation objective and what is your key message – the one thing your audience MUST take away. Then, use a framework which is called ‘what, so what, now what’. This framework is one of my favourites for concise and effective communication, as it focuses on what most matters in the message.
- What is your topic.
- So what is why the topic is important for your audience
- Now what is about next steps in relation to your topic.
But let’s flesh this out a little more to prepare our presentation and to consider the work we’ve done thinking about our audience, presentation objective and key message.
Let’s imagine I’m going to give a presentation about effective presenting.
I begin with ‘what’ and ‘so what’ upfront. I state the topic, give it context, and communicate my key message, which includes why the audience should care and state my objective.
For example: “We’re here to talk about presentations (topic). I know that your company has a strong presentation culture. (context) and so it’s important that you’re able to present effectively if you want to stand out and be noticed (why the audience should care). Presenting effectively means communicating in a clear, concise and impactful way (key message) and today I’m going to give you some tips today on exactly how to do that (objective).”
I then go back to the ‘what’. I’ll choose 3 areas to focus on and give details. Before I give the details, I state the 3 areas with a signposting phrase such as “I’m going to talk about 3 areas – planning your presentation, creating impactful slides and tips for great delivery, both verbal and non-verbal.”
Once I’ve given the details, it’s time for the last part, the ‘now what’. Here I will highlight the next steps. I could choose three actions out of the several I’ve talked about in detail that I want my audience to take the next time they give a presentation.
So, I might say something like “As a take-away from this presentation I want you to make sure that from now on, you take 3 actions – you start your presentation with a hook, you prepare slides with less text, and you make sure you project your voice when you speak.”
The great thing about the ‘what, so what, now what’ framework is you can cut it right down to the bare minimum information, or you can extend it, adding more detail. But at the end of the day, this framework crystallizes the three most often important components of a message, which can really help when you have little time to prepare.