Is finding the right balance between structure and spontaneity a problem for you? Here’s a quiz:
1. How much preparation do you do before a presentation?
a. I think through the basic ideas in my head and jot down a few keywords.
b. I plan carefully the main message I want to get across and then structure supporting points.
c. I plan everything I want to say and write down how I’ll say it.
2. What are you most concerned about when you’re delivering your presentation?
a. I must be natural and genuinely engage with the audience.
b. Yes, I want to be natural and engaging but also I want to stay on track.
c. I must remember everything I want to say and get it right.
3. What’s the most likely problem you might have when you’re delivering your presentation?
a. Well, I might waffle and go a little off track at times.
b. I’m not perfect but generally it goes pretty well.
c. I come across as rather stiff and artificial. I might end up reading my presentation to the audience.
Mostly As – you’re a winger
Mostly Bs – you’ve got it sorted
Mostly Cs – you’re a stickler
If you’re a winger – what could help you keep more on track? If you’re a stickler what could help you be more natural and engaging?
Two types of presentation content
Think of having two types of content in your presentation:
- The bones of your presentation – this is the framework of your presentation. It holds your presentation together. It includes your Key Message and your main points.
- The flesh of your presentation. This includes the stories, anecdotes, metaphors and other supporting material.
If you’re a winger
Focus on planning the bones of your presentation – this will ensure your presentation hangs together with a solid structure rather than being just an entertaining ramble. You can still be at your engaging and spontaneous best during the supporting material.
If you’re a stickler
Let go about getting the supporting material just right. It won’t be fatal if you forget to tell an anecdote or leave out a detail. You’ll be more engaging and natural. To help you let go, put critical information in a handout.