PGDM, FORE School of Management, New Delhi – 110016
Management is the art of getting things done. A Presentation is a fast and potentially effective method of getting things done through other people. In managing any project, presentations are used as a formal method for bringing people together to plan, monitor and review its progress. Now, the question is : what can a presentation do for you? Firstly; it puts you on display. Your staff needs to see evidence of decisive planning and leadership so that they are confident in your position as their manager. They need to be motivated and inspired to undertaking the tasks, which you are presenting. Project leaders from other sections need to be persuaded of the merits of your project and to provide any necessary support. Your skill and ability should impress senior management so that they provide the resources so that you and your team can get the job done. Secondly; it allows you to ask questions and to initiate discussion. It may not be suitable within the presentation formats of your company to hold a discussion during the presentation itself but it does allow you to raise the issues, present the problems and at least to establish who amongst the audience could provide valuable input to your decision making. Finally; presentations can be fun. They are your chance to speak your mind, to strut your stuff and to tell the people what the world is really like. While you hold the stage, the audience is bound by good manners to sit still and watch the performance.
2. The Objectives
The objective of communication is to make your message understood and remembered. The main problem with this objective is, of course, the people to whom you are talking. The average human being has a very short attention span and a million other things to think about. Your job in the presentation is to reach through this mental fog and to hold the attention long enough to make your point. The starting point in planning any speech is to formulate a precise objective. This should take the form of a simple, concise statement of intent. For example, the purpose of your speech may be to obtain funds, to evaluate a proposal, or to motivate your team. No two objectives will be served equally well by the same presentation; and if you are not sure at the onset what you are trying to do, it is unlikely that your plan will achieve it. One question is how many different objectives can you achieve, in say, 30 minutes - and the answer:not many. In the end it is far more productive to achieve one goal than to blunder over several. The best approach is to isolate the essential objective and to list at most two others, which can be addressed providing they do not distract from the main one. Focus is key. If you do not focus upon your objective, it is unlikely that the audience will.
Identify the Audience
The next task is to consider the audience to determine how best to achieve your objectives in the context of these people. Essentially this is done by identifying their aims and objectives while attending your presentation. If you can somehow convince them they are achieving those aims while at the same time achieving your own, you will find a helpful and receptive audience. For instance, if you are seeking approval for a new product plan from senior management it is useful to know and understand their main objectives. If they are currently worried that their product range is out of date and old fashioned, you would emphasise the innovative aspects of your new product; if they were fearful about product diversification you would then emphasise how well your new product fits within the existing catalogue. This principal of matching the audience aims, however, goes beyond the simple salesmanship
of an idea - it is the simplest and most effective manner of obtaining their attention at the beginning. If your opening remarks imply that you understand their...