You may not be like King George of England, who was depicted in the highly nominated film "The King's Speech". King George stammered and was terrified of public speaking. However, when you are asked to deliver a presentation, it can invoke a similar reaction. On the other hand, others believe they are naturals when it comes to delivering a speech.
“I’ll just wing it,” they say. “I know what I am going to talk about and I will do fine.”
Of course, you will be able to stumble through your presentation. However in all honesty, it probably will not trigger an ecstatic response from your audience.
How can you change this?
Below you will find six steps to help you deliver the best project management presentation possible.
1. Determine the purpose of the presentation
Understanding the reason for your project presentation is key to preparing your entire speech. Are you presenting on the topic of project scope? That will be an entirely different seminar compared to one that focuses on success factors, project milestones, or your risk management.
It is essential to evaluate whether the objective of your presentation is to inform your audience or to persuade them. Identifying the purpose of your talk will help you develop engaging content and demonstrate your ideas effectively.
2. Know your audience
Who are behind the smiling faces that will make up your audience? Is it your boss? Your boss’s boss? Your team leaders? Establishing the relationship between you and the group will help you organize the discussion points that are most pivotal to them and eliminate the ones that are not as important. Understanding your audience will also shape the language you use and how you present your ideas.
Knowing your audience involves more than their position in the corporate chain in relation to you. You also have to consider how many people you will be speaking to. Talking to 10 people or fewer is a conversation. Getting on the stage in front of 20 people is a speech. When there are 40 people in the audience, it is a performance. 100 people or more is a show. Plan accordingly.
3. Do your research
Now that you know why you are giving this presentation and who it is for, ask yourself the following question:
What do these people care about?
Chances are your project management presentation will cover a massive amount of metrics. Beyond stated goals and scope analysis, confirm that you have your financial information readily available. Use your project management software to help identify risk points and project progression. Does your project relate to other company projects? Make sure to have that information as well.
It does not matter yet if your research is in point-form notes. However, it will help to compile the data in one place. I recommend using a word document with bolded headers to organize your findings. However, Scrivener and Evernote are excellent tools for organizing research as well.
4. Choose your main points
Now, you are ready to identify and consolidate your big ideas. Main points, or big ideas, are similar to miniature thesis statements. They are statements that require substantiation. For example:
We need to consider expanding our scope.
We will greatly benefit by using Scrum for this project.
Let’s work on fixing our customer service feature for this sprint.
Establishing your big ideas will be clear if you have conducted your research and identified the purpose of your presentation. They are the most integral topics that need to be presented in your speech. Write them down, and then brainstorm the facts that you can use to support your main points.
For instance, if your big idea is, “We need to extend our deadline,” substantiate it with, “We had a service outage last week that has made it difficult to produce timely results” and “We have worked in some buffer time for this sprint; pushing the deadline one extra day is not a problem. We have planned for this.”
Organize your supporting information under the appropriate main points.
5. Write a compelling introduction
A great introduction consists of three parts:
Your attention-getter will be the first statement you make when you start your presentation. Hence, it is also the most important part of your speech because it will encompass the first few seconds and set the impression for the rest of your talk. Make it count.
Begin your presentation with a thought-provoking quote, statistic, or a story that illustrates your big idea. Unless you are intimately familiar with the team you are presenting to, dismiss options such as goofy jokes that will jeopardize your credibility. Quotes, statistics, and stories, while seemingly dry on paper, can quickly engage an audience and get them excited about your project.
Your thesis is simply a summary of your main points. It is your main message. Think big picture.
Aristotle had it right when he said, “tell them what you are going to tell them, tell them, then tell them what you told them.” This rhetorical approach to speeches is most visible in the preview. The preview outlines your main points.
6. Write Your Conclusion
Every presenter wants to end their speech on an inspiring note. Justifiably so. After all, it determines whether your idea is adopted by your audience or whether it dies once they leave the room. However, a frenzied applause from your audience can be difficult when it comes to business presentations.
The best way to end your presentation is to restate your main message and deliver a strong call-to-action. Ask yourself the following questions:
- What action(s) do you want the audience to take?
- How do you want them to transform as a result of your presentation?
At this point, we have covered a lot of ground. This all-inclusive guide will help you prepare the basic outline for your project management presentation. When you follow the steps outlined above, your speech will be organized, clear, and compelling.
Do you need additional help identifying your main points? The best tips on winning over your audience with body language techniques and delivery? Let us know how we can help!