Preparing and Developing Great Presentation Materials

Nitpick your presentation – and all the components – to death. You may have conducted the best study in the world and developed strong, compel¬ling results and findings, but you won’t gain a grain of favor if your presentation has halitosis.

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Using sharp word-processed copies of written materials instead of poor photocopies or mimeos, packaging written materials in attractive binders and the like, and using professionally prepared visuals gains points important credibility points. Likewise, making certain that presentation rooms are the right size for the group, appropriate AV equipment is on hand and functioning, chairs and tables are appropriate to the group, and the room itself is clean and temperate are examples of nitpicking that gain credibility points for a face-to-face presentation.

Apologizing for report misspellings or smudges, overhead projectors that don’t work, and a pile of party hats and empty champagne bottles doesn’t gain back lost credibility points.

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Expect to be rejected. A client once did us a great favor by explaining that we should be prepared for rejection by his group. “We won’t believe much of what you tell us right now. But in a few months, you’ll see a lot of action.” This same client, a bank senior vice-president who had seen the results in preview— the tactical leak at work and knew them to be potentially unsettling, went on to compare his group’s acceptance of bad news results to Dr. Elisabeth Kubler-Ross’ stages of death acceptance. And oh how right he was! In the intervening years we have ob¬served about seven steps or stages in the “Acceptance of Bad News” syndrome.

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* Wrong
The client believes your findings are wrong and should be dismissed summarily.
* Right, but a bad sample
The client believes you believe your findings, but thinks they are based on bad sampling and are a statistical accident.
* Right, but trivial
The results and findings are right but out of context. Seen in the proper perspective, the insider’s perspective, the bad news results are not important.
* Right, but we like it this way
The results are correct and important. However, we don’t consider the situation bad; on reflection we really like things this way.
* Right, but we can’t change
Okay, so things are bad. That’s the nature of the business. We would have to change all of society to make any impact on our situation.
* Okay, let’s do something
The problem is real and probably manageable. Let’s do something about it.
* Problem! What problem?
The client accepts the problem, solves it, and goes on. In instances of especially sensitive organiza¬tional problems, repression of or denial of the original problem takes place; like the ex-smoker who, hav¬ing become a nonsmoker, can’t re¬ally remember having any difficulty quitting.

The importance of this syndrome is in its preparatory value. Knowing the possibility of this reaction helps us keep our mental health and patience intact. Knowing of the syndrome can also help the client maintain a mea¬sure of composure when the client team trips off into it.

Evaluate. How do you evaluate an evaluation? Or any other research effort for that matter? One way is simply to stand back and watch. If you see activity taking place around the neighborhood of the problems and opportunities you elucidated, that’s a nice indicator.

After some time has passed, a more direct indicator is to ask what’s happened as a result of the study, report and
presentation. If the answer is, “Oh, a few things” which of course is a euphemism for nothing you have just inherited a new study. What study? The study you’re going to have to do in order to find out why your study didn’t produce the results you planned, or any results at all. After all, if your study was on target and your presentation followed these guidelines, it should have had an effect.

You can download excellent powerpoint slides on HR management, business strategy and personal development HERE.

Source : Training Magazine

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