Does Your Presentation Have a Point of View?

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Do your presentations tend to wander? Are they a compilation of points and data that don’t have enough focus? Do you have a scaffold that works from start to finish?

Some call it the main message, the big idea or the thesis statement. I call it your Point of View. Whatever you name it, it’s the most important component of your presentation. It’s your raison d’etre as a presenter. It’s the most significant, most compelling and most powerful statement you can convincingly make about the matter at hand. You must believe in it…even feel passionately about it.

Your Point of View should be a declarative statement. One sentence that encapsulates your presentation. It’s what you believe about the matter at hand and what you want them to believe by the end of the presentation. When they believe it, they will be inspired to take the action you are requesting. It will be make sense to them once they adopt your Point of View.

Imagine someone missed you presentation, ran in late and everyone was standing around afterwards. Suppose that latecomer asked, ” What did I miss? What did she say?” Someone would answer, ” Well….she basically said, ‘(insert-your-Point-of-View-here.)'” It would be that simple.

So this big idea is the foundation for the presentation. It is the filter or sieve through which all information in the presentation must pass in order to qualify for inclusion. Everything in your presentation must support, directly or indirectly, your Point of View. All your main points, all your supporting information, all your anecdotes, analogies, data…all of it works to support and prove to your audience your Point of View.

When writing a presentation, I like to start with a compelling story, analogy, fact, statistic or other kind of attention grabber which leads me directly into the Point of View. It’s the logical consequence, conclusion, moral etc. of that story or attention grabber. It flows naturally from it.

Then I use the body of the presentation to prove that idea, introducing points that will eventually lead the audience to the same conclusion.

Because everything in the presentation supports the Point of View, it’s a great transitional element. Stated directly or as a variation of the original statement, if works well as a bridge between main points or sections. You can state your POV repeatedly in reference to different points, allowing the audience to reinterpret it according to the new information you introduce. Repeating it 3 or more time actually reinforces the idea for the audience.

Suppose I am giving a presentation on giving presentations. My POV is: The connection with the audience is the most crucial element of a presentation, in both content and delivery.

I start with a story that leads me directly to that POV. Then I make main points that refer to that idea. Let’s say the first section is about content, the second about delivery, and the third about the amazing presentations the audience will be making when they follow the plan I outline. I ask them to take an action and tell them why that will benefit them. Then I conclude with the POV again and a reference to the original story.

The POV is not the action I want them to take. It’s not the benefits of taking the action. It’s a big idea I want them to believe. Once I prove it with all the fantastic points and supporting information in the presentation, they can’t wait to take the action and experience the beneficial results.

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