Building a Short Lecture using a PowerPoint

As business owners, we often have the opportunity to present our business in a short, limited amount of time.  This post is directed at those who speak to an audience for 10-20 minutes using a PowerPoint presentation

Starting the Lecture

It’s recommended that you present yourself (from a business, and not personal, standpoint) and your business in brief, and provide a concise indication of what you’ll talk about in the presentation in order to create a sense of anticipation about what is going to happen.

Building the Presentation

Write as little as possible in the presentation.  When there is a lot of writing, the audience concentrates on the text within the presented slide, and not on what is said by the speaker.  The PowerPoint’s purpose is to accompany a speaker, visually support their words and briefly summarize the things said out loud in a nice looking way on the slide.  It should give a slightly different point of view from what has been said.

Examples

It is good to give examples from the business’ daily life with clients and also personal examples that are related to the subject.  Every example used should be positive with the objective of nicely depicting the business and its services.  Remember that the lecture is a marketing tool designed to attract customers or colleagues to want to contact you to purchase services / products or collaborate.

Professional Terminology

There’s a tendency to use professional terms taken within from the professional field we’re presenting.  We recommend minimizing use of these terms as much as possible, unless they are briefly defined at the beginning of the lecture – so that you won’t lose participant attention due to overuse of unknown terms.

Street Lights (Tips)

Throughout the lecture, we recommend you add in relevant recommendations.  When you’ve finished speaking about a certain subject, you can give a suggestion or recommendation connected to what has been said.  This will create professional visibility and will make the participants want to write things down, and then, in the future, maybe even want to contact you.

Audience participation

In either a short or long presentation, the goal is to maintain continuous audience listening for as long as possible and get their maximum attention.  Slightly complicated subjects can feel serious & intense, and lead to a tendency for people to do other things.  You can involve those listening in different ways without creating an open discussion:

  • Speak to someone specific in the audience (Attention will automatically increase in order to be prepared in case of another direct question).
  • Ask yourselves…
  • By a show of hands, who here agrees with the following…
  • Please stand if you…

These actions minimize conversation but create activity and interest, drawing attention to the lecture.

Branding

Even though we’ve opened with a personal introduction, the logo and company name should appear on every slide.

On the first slide – Include your full name, the company name and its area of business

On the last slide – Include business contact details and a call to action. (Upcoming workshop date, special bonus, invitation to join Facebook page, and so on)

Things to Avoid:

  • Creating an opportunity for discussion between participants – the moment attention is averted, it is difficult to get back.
  • Digressing from the main subject – It can create confusion as to what the main topic is.
  • Giving examples with a negative view whether about yourself or others
  • Saying: This is important! This is vital information! – without saying why

Problem and Solution – There’s often a tendency to present problems and challenges from the profession under discussion, and in doing so, arousing audience considerations and then checking to see if they have a similar problem or challenge. We recommend giving the first part of the solution (and no more), to demonstrate why it is worth their while to come to you for the rest.

Target Audience

Homogenous group: We recommend giving specific examples and direction, and emphasizing the participants’ profession in references to make them feel important and like they’ve received special attention.

Heterogeneous group: You should give different examples and touch upon as many different professional fields that will speak to as many of those present as possible.  They will appreciate this for the effort made.

You should choose topics and examples that will speak to as many people as possible in order to maintain their continuous attention.  It will also create a sense of fondness in the participants, generating a much easier “call to action” at the end.

“Do and Don’t” Recommendations – These must be realistic, and when they are presented, it’s important for some of those present to agree with what’s been said (generally there are nods from those listening).

Likewise, you should show results and the benefit of the recommendations offered – creating new opportunities or improving existing ones adds a lot when requesting additional details and initiating contact at the end of the lecture.

To conclude – The length of a lecture does not equal the level of demand for a product or service.  But, the focus, the direction toward an audience’s needs and the professionalism perceived from content and general visibility does.

Good luck!

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