Block of Marble

Want a Great Presentation? Subtract!

The effectiveness of a business presentation has very little to do with the ‘prettiness’ of the slides. In fact, most great presentations don’t include slides! The key to effective business speaking is to reach the audience and achieve the desired results. I find myself repeating this message over and over because it is so important but, oddly, almost always overlooked.

The big presentation is coming up. When most people start planning that big presentation, they think of two things:
What do I need to cover? (Better mention that or I’ll hear from the boss, etc)
How should my slides look? (Is there a nice template floating around?)

The answer to these questions do matter but they are not the important questions. The most important question is:
What is the goal of this presentation?

Once that goal is determined and clearly defined, the presenter must outline a strategy to achieve the goal.

Most people think the strategy is all about deciding what to cover. Then, out of fear of silence and questions, they cram as much into the presentation as time will allow and hope for the best. That’s not a strategy.

In fact, creating a presentation is not about adding as much content as possible, it is about subtracting content!

If what you think should be included does not contribute to achieving your goal, subtract it!

A sculptor was once asked how he went about shaping a block of marble into a horse. “Easy. I simply remove all the stone that isn’t a horse.”

He’s right. You cannot shape stone. You can only remove stone. Great, effective presentation is a subtractive process.

Learn how to do this and your presentations will be much more effective.

Chris Reich, TeachUPresentation.com

Horse Head from Greece