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The Harvard Business Review pointed out in an article that the order of the presented facts has a great impact on how well a presentation is remembered. What is said at the beginning or end is most likely to be recalled later. The three most important messages should be made clear right at the beginning. The entire middle part of the presentation should be used to explain why these three things are so important. At the end you should summarize again.
An example: You lead a sales meeting and want to make it clear to your team that
Do not start with an anecdote, an example of a particularly successful team member or a slide with graphs and numbers, but summarize exactly the points above. Once you have brought them across to the team, you may add colorful graphs, spotlight a particularly successful salesperson, and ask the team for concerns and opinions. That would be the most effective structure.
This is where our caveman instincts come into play. Nobody wants to follow an insecure leader, nobody wants to listen to vague instructions, nobody wants to remember unreliable information. Therefore, you have to give your presentation with a certain level of self-confidence. This works best if you are well prepared and have practised your presentation in advance. A lot. A few preparation tips:
Paradoxically, listeners remember flawless presentations less well. The audience benefits from having to do some of the work itself. Have your listeners answer question, give estimations, participate in discussions, and uncover contradictions. If you suddenly lose your train of thought, see it as an opportunity. Let the audience step in!
Don't obsess. If you try too hard and use the fanciest new tool for creating your next presentation, relying on constant variety and new rhetoric tricks, you will easily overwhelm both the audience and yourself. You have something important to say... don't you? Many business meetings are as boring as they are because the information could have been sent in an email. Neither the presenter nor the meeting participants find the topics particularly exciting and so everyone is a bit annoyed at the end. Even the most fantastic whiteboard tricks couldn't have changed that.
So the most important thing for your next meeting should be the question: What do I want to convey and why? If you have a clear answer to that question, you'll rock it!
Presentations and meetings are not only the order of the day in the corporate environment. Universities and colleges are the epitome for conveying and sharing messages and knowledge. This 2-minute video will show you what other challenges are waiting to be solved.