Strategic Human Capital Insights

3 Tools for a Well-Crafted, High-Impact Presentation

The aim of any presentation is to impart your information to the audience, ensuring they receive the information as ‘in tact’ as possible. To achieve maximum impact, it is critical that you present with the following three tools: 

            1.  Visual Billboard

            2.  Physical and Vocal Energy 

            3.  Synchronizing the Audience with You and The Visual Billboard

This may seem obvious, but it requires careful orchestration, preparation, and practice. 

1. The Visual Billboard

Always remember to follow the must-dos when preparing the visual billboard.  Understand that there is tremendous power in the visual billboard.  It is the non-verbal part of the presentation.  If the visual billboard is developed with both the audience and your message in mind, it can increase the positive impact of your overall message.  However, since the visual billboard is so powerful if it is not developed properly and doesn’t match your verbal message, the visual billboard can create visual and mental confusion for the audience.  When given a choice between your visual billboard and your verbal message – the audience will tend to believe your visual billboard over your words.  If there is confusion – your message is in trouble.  Never underestimate the importance and impact of this critical presentation tool.  This is the presentation "make or break," which all too often goes wrong.  Creating your visual billboard is the basis for your presentation.  You should spend a great deal of time on this process.  If this goes wrong, you will have flaws in your entire presentation. Remember, the audience can choose to tune you out – and it often starts with the visual billboard!   Once the audience mentally leaves your presentation, they often don’t return!

2. Physical and Vocal Energy 

For high-impact presentations, your body and voice are another integral presentation tool.  Under normal, non-pressured situations, your brain will most likely naturally engage your body and voice to mirror your words. Making presentations often causes stress.  That stress will often be counterproductive to good presentations.  Stress causes the brain to focus on the stress instead of naturally engaging your body and vocal cords.  Under presentation pressure, the body and voice can produce gestures and mannerisms that have nothing to do with the presentation material.  Our bodies can go into a frozen position.  Our gestures can become repetitive and make us look nervous.  Our voices can stutter, our mouths can go dry, or the famous ‘you know’ or ‘um’ can slip into our presentation, to name only a few things. When our body language and vocals do not match our words or our visual billboard, we again create sight and sound confusion for the audience.  The audience can disbelieve what we are saying or think we are not confident with our message.  This visual dissonance can negatively impact our presentation.  Remember, the physical and vocal components of our message can achieve either high impact or visual dissonance.

3. Synchronizing the Audience with You and The Visual Billboard 

Now it’s time to remember that the presentation is intended for your audience.  With your visual billboard, you can fall into the trap of talking to your visuals instead of the audience.  You must use your visual billboard as your tool, and you must always remember that your eyes and face don’t look at the visual but always engage your audience, make eye contact, and always face them.  The audience is your focus.  You will need to fight the urge to look at the visual billboard. It’s a natural pull for your attention.

Final Tips 

When you practice and finally present, you must:

  • Reference but do not speak to your visual billboard – it’s your tool 
  • Harness your stress to allow your brain to naturally engage your physical and vocal energy
  • Sync your physical and vocal energy with your visual billboard to unify the message
  • Use your eyes and body energy to engage your audience – they are the reason you are making the presentation in the first place

Remember, you must always prepare and practice your delivery so you are optimizing the positive impact of your message.  When your visual billboard and your physical and vocal energy are in sync – you significantly increase the impact value of your presentation. This does not happen without a conscious effort.

So now, prepare and deliver a well-crafted, high-impact presentation!

In our blog series on presentation skills, we focus on the elements of great presentations and provide a framework to follow that allows you to control your message so it creates the intended impact at the highest possible level.  Just click here to read all of our presentation skills blogs.

Read Presentation Skills Series >>


Topics: Presentation Skils

Posted by Joanne Flynn

Joanne Flynn

Joanne T. Flynn heads up the human capital advisory group, Phoenix Strategic Performance, Inc. Previously, she was a Managing Director with Phoenix Group International and was Vice President / Director of Global Learning and Development at Goldman, Sachs for nine years. Joanne works with organizations as they face global growth and competitive challenges. She works with her clients to be both externally focused and internally responsive. With her unique background, she aligns competitive strategic efforts with related internal organizational leadership challenges. With the benefit of her career-long focus, Joanne contributes the unique insight of aligning strategy to internal organizational structure and process. She focuses on human capital relative to strategic initiatives, accelerated business growth, value creation, and business development. Joanne holds a Master of Arts degree in Business Management from the University of Oklahoma. In addition, she holds a double degree major in History and German from St. Elizabeth University, as well as certificates from a variety of leading universities and professional training and development organizations. Joanne has recently published her latest book, Accelerating Business Success, The Human Asset Management Strategy.

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