The Essence of Effective Presentations

FTD Presentation

I read an article recently which stated that the most important thing about your presentation was the content. I couldn’t help it, I just had to disagree. But as I read the article it was hard to argue with the author’s points … without a well defined purpose and content, the presentation will never meet the mark. Yes, that is true, but I’ve been to enough presentations where the content was rich, but the presentation didn’t hit the mark.

I’ve long been of the view that the skill of the presenter is the crucial thing. Delivery style, reading the group and engaging on an individual and group level. If you’ve been to a poorly delivered presentation (and admit it, you’ve been to a few), then it’s hard to argue with this point as well. But a well orated presentation with nothing meaningful to say is just smoke and mirrors.

I was pondering this dilemma over breakfast (my go to place for reflection and inspiration) and then it dawned on me … A stray thought from my Project Management training program broke away and fell into my reflections on Presentation Skills … the “Golden Triangle”!

In Project Management the Golden Triangle consist of Time, Cost and Quality – Three elements which are in constant tension, reliant on each other and essential for the project to be deemed successful. If any of them is out of kilter, then the whole project suffers. This is the same for Presentation Skills, except the Golden Triangle is made up of Content, Design and Delivery.

My point is, you already have the content, or you wouldn’t (or shouldn’t) have been asked to do the presentation in the first place. Now you need the design skills to determine the purpose and create a presentation that will make sense to your audience. All that good work will be lost if your delivery fails to engage with the group. These are three co-dependent variables. Each vitally important for a successful, engaging and memorable presentation.

  • Without content your presentation is hollow entertainment.
  • Without design your presentation is confusing and hard to follow.
  • Without delivery skills your presentation can’t be received and absorbed.
Article by Adam Le Good, Director of Fundamental Training and Development

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