Putting It All Together: 3 Tools For a Well-Crafted, High-Impact Presentation

Posted by Steve Flynn on 4/15/15 11:00 AM


This is a guest blog post from our partner, Joanne Flynn, Founder of Phoenix Strategic Performance.

The last time you delivered a presentation, did you think it was highly impactful?  Every presentation you give, whether 5 minutes or 60 minutes, needs to give the audience value.  Here are three tools needed to make a truly impactful presentation.

Putting It All Together

We know the aim of any presentation is to impart your information to the audience ensuring they receive the information as ‘in tact’ as possible.  To achieve maximum impact, we must present with the following three tools: 

            1.  Visual Billboard

            2.  Physical and Vocal Energy 

            3.  Synchronizing the Audience with You and The Visual Billboard

This may seem obvious, but it requires careful orchestration, preparation and practice. 

1. The Visual Billboard

Always remember to follow the 4 must do’s when preparing the visual billboard.  Understand that there is tremendous power in the visual billboard.  It is the non-verbal part of the presentation.  If the visual billboard is developed with both the audience and your message in mind, it can increase the positive impact of your overall message.  However, since the visual billboard is so powerful, if it is not developed properly and doesn’t match your verbal message, the visual billboard can create visual and mental confusion to the audience.  When given a choice between your visual billboard and your verbal message – the audience will tend to believe you visual billboard over your words.  If there is confusion – your message is in trouble.  Never underestimate the importance and impact of this critical presentation tool.  This is the presentation "make or break", which all too often goes wrong.  Creating your visual billboard is the basis for your presentation.  You should spend a great deal of time on this process.  If this goes wrong, you will have flaws in your entire presentation. Remember, the audience can choose to tune you out – and it often starts with the visual billboard!   Once the audience mentally leaves your presentation, they often don’t return!

2. Physical and Vocal Energy 

For high-impact presentations, your body and voice are another integral presentation tool.  Under normal, non-pressured situations, your brain will most likely naturally engage your body and voice to mirror your words. Making presentations often causes stress.  That stress will often be counterproductive to good presentations.  Stress causes the brain to focus on the stress instead of naturally engaging your body and vocal cords.  Under presentation pressure, the body and voice can produce gestures and mannerisms that have nothing to do with the presentation material.  Our bodies can go into a frozen position.  Our gestures can become repetitive and look nervous.  Our voices can stutter, our mouths can go dry or the famous, ‘you know’ or ‘um’ can slip into our presentation to name only a few things. When our body language and vocals do not match our words or our visual billboard, we again create sight and sound confusion to the audience.  The audience can disbelieve what we are saying or think we are not confident with our message.  This visual dissonance can negatively impact our presentation.  Remember, the physical and vocal component of our message can achieve either high impact or visual dissonance.

3. Synchronizing the Audience with You and The Visual Billboard 

Now it’s time to remember that the presentation is intended for your audience.  With your visual billboard, you can fall into the trap of talking to your visuals instead of the audience.  You must use your visual billboard as your tool and you must always remember that your eyes and face don’t look at the visual but always to engage your audience, make eye contact and always face them.  It is critical to remember that the audience is your focus.  You will need to fight the urge to look to the visual billboard. It’s a natural pull for your attention.

Final Tips 

When you practice and finally present, you must:

  • Reference but not speak to your visual billboard – it’s your tool 
  • Harness your stress to allow your brain to naturally engage your physical and vocal energy
  • Sync your physical and vocal energy with your visual billboard to unify the message
  • Use your eyes and body energy to engage your audience – they are the reason you are making the presentation in the first place

Remember, you must always prepare and practice your delivery so you are optimizing the positive impact of your message.  When your visual billboard and your physical and vocal energy are in sync – you significantly increase the impact value of your presentation. This does not happen without a conscious effort.

So now, prepare and deliver a well-crafted, high-impact presentation!

If you would like to learn more about how to make your presentation more effective, powerful and engaging, please join Phoenix Strategic Perfortmance in Phoenix on June 9th and 10th for a 2-day seminar: 3 P's of Powerful Presentations: Professional, Promotion & Profit.

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Tags: presentation skills