August 20, 2015

Preparing for Presentations by Playing the Part

Play the Part
As a person who has given many presentations and taught others on how to do so, I review books on the subject to see what is new.  Play the Part by Gina Barnett (that rhymes!) just came out as a two part instructional with activities and worksheets.  The first part of the book covers the signals your body language tells about you in both leadership roles and as a presenter and gives tips to improve.  This book is a great asset for those who want to learn more about body language.  The second part of the book is where she gets more into planning and delivering presentations.  I will focus on the 2nd part of the book in this post.

Gina introduces a Key Message idea for planning presentations and provides a worksheet with the headings What, How, and Why to create your message.  Under each heading, your answer the following questions:

  • What is the situation (concept, problem, idea, or challenge)?
  • How can you address it (recommended actions)?
  • Why do this (goals, results, or desired outcomes)?

She goes on to discuss ways to grab the audience and get them to tune into the purpose of your presentation using: a catchy title, headlines (for your key messages), and telling stories rather than stating facts.  She says people can better understand and empathize with metaphors and similes than facts and figures.  Although, she seems to agree with me that if numbers are needed to prove a point, they should be in a graph rather than a table or buried in text.

I found it interesting the Gina had a 5P instruction in her book that stands for “Prior Planning Prevents Poor Performance.”  I give a 4P approach in my presentation keynotes: Plan, Prepare, Practice, and Perform.  At the end of her book, Gina also dedicates 12 pages to talk about virtual meetings.

You can find her 3-question Key Message template after chapter seven of her communication book Play the Part.  Or you can find a 6-question Presentation Plan format in my meeting management book R.A!R.A!

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