The What, Why & How of Compelling Presentations

Many years ago, we developed a simple formula to help guide presenters to effective presentations: ADAP – Audience-Driven, Authentic Presentations. Recently, someone asked us to come up with a simple three question structure for all presentations in which there is a goal of selling an idea, product or service. Here is our What, Why and How formulation.

WHAT – What does the prospect/audience want to know about the issue at hand, which explains why he/she invited you to make the presentation? Answer the questions succinctly: e.g., upgrade the ERP system or replace it with a new one that is more efficient and effective.

WHY – Why does the prospect/audience want this particular presentation?  Today, many presentations don’t lead to an immediate decision. Instead, many players need to learn what’s relevant to their domain – facts, features, benefits – as well as supportive emotions of satisfaction and relief which support the final buying decisions. Therefore, identify the stage of the decision cycle you’re in, and what is the goal (e.g., next step you want the audience to make.  Clarity of why you are making this particular presentation and what the next step (or result) will be, allow you to formulate a compelling value proposition.

HOW – How will you expertly deliver satisfaction for the prospect/audience?? How will you create Trust between the prospect and you, to facilitate being selected? How will working with you be a superior experience compared to other candidates (and there always are some)? And, how will you make sure the presentation is so engaging that the prospect/audience wants to work with you?

Next time you make a presentation, try the What, Why and How formula. Let us know how it works!

Taking Ownership Increases Authenticity

As I’ve mentioned before, my presentation coaching covers a wide range of communications, from classic sales, marketing, investor and corporate PowerPoint presentations to handling oneself in rainmaking situations, courtroom appearances, keynote addresses and issue debating. What’s great is that almost every week, I witness another case which proves the value of our ADAP (Audience-Driven Authentic Presentations) approach to presentation excellence.

A team of debaters was working feverishly to improve their skills. This weekend, they competed in a statewide competition, and came in third. And, one of the team members won the Best Speaker Award!

At the debriefing, we reviewed what went right and what didn’t in the debates, and why Jack (the winner) felt he was awarded Best Speaker. He noted that generally his partner does the drafting of the debate cases and he then customizes them for his own use. This time, he had extra time to draft the material for the two of them. He smiled as he reflected that “I really felt this was my material, rather than David’s. I always customize his drafts to my style, but this time I truly owned all the case material. That let me make critical distinctions in the material, I normally wouldn’t have made. I guess being able to meaningfully present those nuances made me more effective that I usually am.”

In other words, truly owning the material allowed him to be fully authentic in presenting it – and the judges clearly recognized his power and skill.  What’s been your experience delivering someone else’s presentation material with content or template style with which you’re not truly comfortable? Has it effective your ability to present authentically and fully connect with the audience?  Share your experiences.

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