Think about the last presentation (or webinar) you attended; what was the presenter’s point?

Designing a presentation around the most important point (a single message) greatly increases the chances that the audience will remember that message over time. Therefore, presentation design starts with crafting a clear concise message. One mistake presenters often make is to assume an audience can remember multiple “takeaways”. The old saying is true; if everything is important then nothing is important.

I follow a message crafting method that I learned from Dcode Communications several years ago.  The method is based on the statement What I really want you to understand is _______ .  The you is the audience for the particular presentation you are working on; the what is the one thing you need them to remember after you are long gone.

It sounds easy but sometimes it isn’t. Even for experienced presenters it can be challenging to boil down all the content into a single message, one big idea, one key takeaway.

Here are my tips for writing and delivering your presentation message:

Figure out your point, as in the question, “So what’s your point?” Your point is not your goal – your goal for the presentation is the result of the audience understanding, and acting on, your message.

Try and write your message in one clear and concise sentence, “What I really want you to understand is …”. If you are a Twitter user, think of it as a one sentence tweet.

Use the words “you or your” in the message. (This helps keep the whole presentation audience focused)

Don’t assume your message is obvious – is it obvious for everyone in the audience?

The test of a good message is that it should trigger a question in the minds of your audience…how?  Your content then goes on to explain the how.

State your message early and late in your presentation. Design everything in your presentation (content and visuals) around supporting your message. As is said my many presentation designers “Presentation is driven by message, not content.”

Presentation design starts with crafting a clear concise message for your audience. Designing your presentation around your message will greatly increase the chance that your audience will remember that message long after you leave the room.

What do you think?


Joe Pops

Refuse to be boring