Resolve to make this the year you NAIL all your presentations

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Whether you own your own business or work for a small, medium or large company, one of the best ways to advance is by expressing yourself in a concise, convincing, compelling way. While it’s easy to agree on this premise, its execution can be problematic.  Here are easy things you can do, now, this year, to insure you’re giving “presentations” – both formal and informal – that NAIL IT.

1) Write down in one or two sentences the goal of your presentation. Are you proposing an idea or an initiative? Either way, your goal is for it to be accepted. Are you interviewing for a job or speaking to a higher-up about a promotion? Are you getting in front of a client or prospect to gain new business? Your best bet to achieving these goals is to write them down at the top of your “presentation”. Why?  this will keep you on track as you map out what you’ll say.  If your talking points don’t support your goal, throw them out! This will force you to keep your presentation concise.

2) Turn your focus 180°. Put yourself in your audience’s seat.  What do they care about? What are they worried about? What are their goals?  Once you’ve thought through these questions, you’re ready to create a compelling “presentation”.  One that will address their hot buttons. Remember, it’s not about what you want, it’s about helping them get what they want.

3) Give your “presentation” structure.  Think Rule of Threes.  An example? Part 1: This is where we are now. Part 2: This is what I’m proposing./ This is what I bring to the table. Part 3: This is what the future will look like as a result. Think Problem or Goal – Solution – Result. This will help you make your presentation concise as well.  Sticking to a structure prevents to kitchen sink from being thrown in.

4) Prove your point.  Convince your audience by telling stories or giving examples to prove that what you’re proposing will work. Anyone can say they’re a problem solver; give an example of a time when all hope was lost and then you came to the rescue. If it’s a business idea or initiative, show metrics from other departments or companies for whom your idea brought great things. Again, the model is Problem – Solution – Result.  When it’s told in the form of a story three great things happen. First, it sticks and second, it gets retold, third – and most important – it convinces the listener of your argument.

5) PRACTICE OUT LOUD. You won’t know you have the right pieces in the right places unless you practice OUT LOUD. (In your head does not count.) The only way we can be concise, compelling and convincing is if we are confident. And confidence comes from practice.

Go forth and “present”  – interview, advocate, persuade. But first; prepare and practice. You’ll not only be heard, you’ll NAIL IT.

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