Presentation Tip: Tailor Your Message to Your Audience
As a parent or grandparent, you and I know that we do not talk to our children or grandchildren the same way that we talk to our co-workers. We probably talk differently to our parents or to friends at the baseball park or church than we do to co-workers.
What we say at work is clear to others because we use the same terminology in our conversations. For example, when talking to my parents this weekend, they asked a question. I said I didn’t know the answer, but that I would “Google It.” Now at my place of work, everyone would understand this type of dialogue. But my parents needed an explanation about what it meant to “Google It!”
Get to the Point
When giving a presentation, be sure to get to the point and clearly say what you mean. Most of the time the people listening to your presentation are “required” to be there. They may not be listening by choice. They will have little patience with you if they feel you are adding fluff to impress the big wheels.
4 W’s and H Model
A good presentation tip is to prepare by using the 4 W’s and H Model. It is a good idea when planning your presentation to take each of these in order and make it as concise as possible.
1. Who: Tell exactly who the presentation will benefit and mention to whom the presentation will not apply. For example, if your presentation will benefit faculty but will not apply to student services or college staff, it is best to say so right up front.
2. What: Describe your presentation clearly using “I” instead of “we.” Speak as much as possible from your own experience and not hearsay. Tell your story. Describe what you have experienced and what you would like to see happen in your company or college. Be enthusiastic and use a little humor.
3. When: Relate when the details of your presentation will become effective and for how long. If your presentation is on the new learning management system, tell them when they will be migrating to the new system and give an idea of how long it will be before they will be required to change again.
4. Where: Describe where the changed behavior will take place. Will everyone be migrating to the new system in the Fall or will you have a pilot group? Be clear. Be concise. Be honest.
5. How: Very important to cover in your presentation how everyone will put the new behavior into action. Will training be made available on campus? When and where? Will training videos be provided? Will support be available?
Don’t Use Jargon
In all of your communication be clear. Do not use jargon. Speak like you would to someone who has never heard of the idea. Don’t assume your listeners are familiar with the terminology. Your clarity will be refreshing.
It is important to cover the 4 W’s and H, but you do not be too lengthy.
Allow time for questions. Be ready to answer questions but don’t be guilty of TMI (too much information). Most all of us operate on a “need to know basis.” Don’t make your answers long and tell them more than they need or want to know.
Repeat & Restate
When giving your presentation, remember what all good teachers know – repetition is important. It takes repetition to remember and internalize. Repeat and restate your main points several times throughout your presentation.
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Communicating with Clarity (Bob Calvert)