Trim presentation, fat results. How (and why) to remove the bloat

Many leaders nudge their teams to trim down their presentations. And with small wonder: Who has time to listen to long-winded, direction-less talks? When you’re next faced with shaving a 30-minute persuasive (or informative) presentation down to ten minutes (or less) consider these quick and easy self-editing tips.

Edit One: Act wisely in your intro

Drawing out our intro might feel right—we dawdle up top to warm up our audience and to tee off our ask. But if your time-pressed audience wants the news fast; then, dilly dallying in your intro can have dismal results. Instead, tell them, within one-three sentences, what you want your audience to know, why, and why now. For example, I want you to consider this R&D project for X, Y, Z reasons, and I need you to commit by  end of today. Your agenda needn’t exceed one sentence. For instance, In today’s presentation, I’m outlining A, B, and C in hopes we achieve D, E, and F.

Edit Two: Provide cruel edits on the body

As you go through the body of your presentation, ensure you’ve streamlined the material to contain only the most relevant, pivotal details. Some tips to polish the body follow:

-Ensure any examples you offer remain 100% relevant to the intro you stated up top. Choose only a few excellent examples and avoid repeating. Which examples show vs. tell your point best?

-Ensure your material remains 100% relevant to your audience and make it clear (with every detail/point you offer) what’s in it for them? Why must they know this information (or, why must they say ‘yes?’)

-Ensure you choose only the most compelling data and the most memorable story (if one exists). You may also consider hooking your audience in your intro with an unquestionable, compelling data point.

Edit Three: Add a picture presentation

If possible, draw out a process versus spend precious minutes explaining one. Studies show, audiences remain more apt to absorb pictures vs. words. And explaining through drawing becomes much quicker—and memorable.

Edit Four: Add a story

For similar reasons, employ effective storytelling. You’ll not only hook (and retain) your audience, you’ll save time. As you choose which story to tell, ensure you’re:

-Quick, ethical, and to the point. Try to cap your story at one to two minutes.

-Not marketing-like in tone. Avoid a success story using your product or service. Speak from the heart instead. Why does this ask/information matter to you and your team? What keeps you up at night on this topic? Start there.

-Pacing well. As you tell your story, play on deliberate emphasis and pausing for optimum effects.

Edit Five: Speak to the slides vs. read them

You may have labored hours on your slides, but try feeling less attached to the content and speak to the slides vs. read them. (Reading takes too much time and impacts our vocal delivery; we sound flat and monotone vs. lively and persuasive when we read.) Using more photography and graphics within your slides helps you speak to them vs. read the content. Using the draw tool to emphasize key data points also helps us highlight key data vs. rattle off entire tables.


Let me know how you get on with your next edit of your high-stakes presentation, and happy presenting! More tips on presenting live here.








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