What's the Big Idea? More Structure for Your Conference Presentation

Posted by Elizabeth Levey
June 30, 2015

by Elizabeth Levey

elizabeth-levey-1So, you have a big conference presentation coming up. Hopefully you’ve started developing your content.  (Only in the very preliminary stages?  Check out our last blog about how to start writing and developing your content.)

If you’ve gotten the ball rolling, now’s the time to layer in more structural elements to build a strong and engaging presentation.  You’ve analyzed your audience, so it’s time consider your audience’s Knowledge, Attitude, and Action.  “What’s that?” you ask? We tell you all about it right here! 

(Remember, this is your secret weapon. If you're able to describe the desired change in your audience’s Knowledge, Attitude, and Action you'll find yourself on a path to a successful presentation with a powerful audience connection.  As a reminder, these are the questions to ask yourself:

Knowledge: What is the Knowledge change desired for this audience?
Attitude: What is the Attitude change desired for this audience?  A.k.a. how do I want them to feel?
Action: What Action(s) do I want my audience to take as a result of my presentation?)

Once you have answered these questions as specifically as possible, you’re ready to focus on the main conference_presentationmessage of your presentation. Your main message is the most concise way to summarize your presentation and its purpose.

Imagine you run into a would-be audience member and they say, "I'm not able to make it to your presentation today. What do you plan to talk about?” You should be able to answer in one or two sentences. Conciseness will keep you on track as you develop your presentation. If the secret weapon represents the change you wish to make, then the main message represents what you have to get across to your audience to affect that change.

Next, turn your attention to the key points of your presentation — the main divisions of knowledge, or content. They're not sub-topics, but rather the more general divisions of your presentation that directly support the main message. Remember, this is still “the big picture” portion of the process. Summarize your key points in as few words as possible. Also, bear in mind that most of us humans can't process more than 5 key points in a presentation — we'll start to forget.

Conferences boast endless presentations, demos, interactive sessions, and more. Your whole goal should be to ensure that your listeners receive your message. If you can't clearly and concisely articulate the main message and key points of your presentation, it's time to go back to the drawing board. Use these structural ideas to build a solid foundation.  Take the time and effort to hone the structure of your presentation, so you’ll be able to easily and effectively apply strong presentation skills technique and impact your audience as you desire!

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