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How to prepare presentation content [Ultimate Guide]

The video call connected, and Vijay's face appeared on my screen (Vijay is an executive at a leading pharmaceutical company).


"Thanks for meeting with me," Vijay began with hesitation. "I've got this keynote speech coming up at the industry conference, and I'm feeling a bit overwhelmed."


I nodded encouragingly, sensing there was more he wanted to say.


Vijay took a deep breath before continuing, "To be honest, I'm at a complete loss on how to approach this. I know my subject inside and out, but when it comes to actually building the content for a presentation... I'm drawing a blank."


His candid admission told me that Vijay's struggle was far from unique. Many professionals, regardless of their expertise, often find themselves at a loss when faced with the task of preparing presentation content.


"You're not alone in feeling that way, Vijay," I reassured him. "Creating compelling presentation content is a skill in itself. But don't worry, we'll work through this together."


As we began to discuss strategies for his keynote, I realized that this conversation could benefit many others facing similar challenges. That's when the idea for this comprehensive guide on how to prepare presentation content took shape.


Whether you're a seasoned executive like Vijay or new to the world of presentations, this article will walk you through the process of creating engaging and effective presentation content that captivates your audience and delivers your message with impact.


How to prepare presentation content


1. Understanding Your Audience: The Foundation of Effective Presentation Content


Before you even open your presentation software, the first step in preparing your presentation content is to understand your audience. This crucial step sets the tone for everything that follows.


Ask yourself:

- Who will be attending your presentation?

- What is their level of knowledge on the topic?

- What are their expectations?

- What problems or challenges are they facing that your presentation can address?


For example, if Vijay were presenting to a group of medical professionals, his content would differ significantly from a presentation to potential investors. The former might focus more on technical details and recent research, while the latter would emphasize market potential and financial projections.


Understanding your audience helps you tailor your content, choose appropriate examples, and use language that connects with them.


2. Defining Your Presentation's Purpose: The North Star of Content Creation


With a clear understanding of your audience, the next step in preparing your presentation content is to define its purpose. Ask yourself:


- What is the main message I want to convey?

- What do I want my audience to think, feel, or do after my presentation?


Your presentation's purpose acts as a North Star, guiding all your content decisions. It helps you stay focused and avoid including irrelevant information that might distract from your main message.


For instance, if Vijay's purpose is to introduce a groundbreaking new drug, his content might include:

- The problem the drug addresses

- How the drug works

- Clinical trial results

- Potential impact on patients' lives

- Next steps for bringing the drug to market


3. Crafting Your Key Messages: The Pillars of Your Presentation


With your purpose defined, the next step in preparing your presentation content is to identify your key messages. These are the core ideas that support your main purpose and that you want your audience to remember.


A good rule of thumb is to have 3-5 key messages. Any more, and you risk overwhelming your audience. Each key message should be:

- Clear and concise

- Relevant to your audience

- Supportive of your overall purpose


For example, Vijay's key messages for his drug presentation might be:

1. Our new drug significantly improves patient outcomes

2. It has fewer side effects than existing treatments

3. It's cost-effective for both patients and healthcare systems


These key messages become the pillars of your presentation, providing structure and clarity to your content.


4. Gathering and Organizing Your Content: Building Your Presentation's Body


Now that you have your key messages, it's time to gather the content that will support them. This is where many people struggle when preparing presentation content, but with a systematic approach, it becomes much more manageable.


Start by brainstorming all the information, data, examples, and stories that could potentially support each of your key messages. At this stage, don't worry about editing or organizing – just get everything down.


Next, evaluate each piece of content against these criteria:

- Does it support one of your key messages?

- Is it relevant and interesting to your audience?

- Does it contribute to your overall purpose?


Discard anything that doesn't meet these criteria. Remember, when it comes to preparing presentation content, less is more. Your audience will appreciate a focused, well-curated presentation over one that's packed with unnecessary information.


5. Structuring Your Presentation: Creating a Logical Flow


With your content gathered and curated, the next step in preparing your presentation content is to structure it into a logical flow. A well-structured presentation helps your audience follow your argument and remember your key points.


A classic structure for presentations is:

1. Introduction: Hook your audience and state your purpose

2. Main body: Present your key messages with supporting content

3. Conclusion: Summarize your main points and call to action


Within this broad structure, consider using the "What? So What? Now What?" framework for each key message:

- What?: Present the information or data

- So What?: Explain why it's important or relevant

- Now What?: Describe the implications or next steps


For example, when presenting data on his new drug's efficacy, Vijay might structure it like this:

- What?: "Our clinical trials show a 40% improvement in patient outcomes."

- So What?: "This is a significant leap forward compared to existing treatments."

- Now What?: "This could revolutionize how we treat this condition, improving countless lives."


6. Crafting Compelling Visuals: Enhancing Your Presentation Content


As you prepare your presentation content, remember that visual elements can significantly enhance your message. Humans are visual creatures, and well-designed slides can help your audience understand and remember your key points.


However, avoid the common pitfall of cluttering your slides with too much text. Instead, use your slides to complement your spoken words. Some tips for creating effective visuals:


- Use high-quality images that relate to your content

- Present data in clear, easy-to-understand charts or graphs

- Use icons or simple illustrations to represent concepts

- Stick to a consistent color scheme that matches your brand or theme


For instance, when Vijay presents the clinical trial results, instead of a slide full of numbers, he might use a simple bar graph showing the improvement compared to existing treatments. This visual representation makes the data more digestible and memorable.


7. Incorporating Stories and Examples: Bringing Your Content to Life


As you continue to prepare your presentation content, consider how you can incorporate stories and examples. These elements can bring your data and arguments to life, making your presentation more engaging and memorable.


Stories and examples serve several purposes:

- They make abstract concepts more concrete

- They create emotional connections with your audience

- They demonstrate real-world applications of your ideas


For Vijay, this might mean including a patient story that illustrates the impact of his new drug. He could describe the patient's struggles with existing treatments and how the new drug improved their quality of life. This personal touch can be far more powerful than statistics alone.


8. Crafting a Strong Opening and Closing: Bookending Your Content


As you near the end of preparing your presentation content, pay special attention to your opening and closing. These are critical moments that can significantly impact your presentation's effectiveness.


Your opening should:

- Grab the audience's attention

- Clearly state your purpose

- Give a roadmap of what's to come


You might start with a provocative question, a surprising statistic, or a short, relevant anecdote. For example, Vijay might open with: "Imagine a world where chronic pain doesn't control your life. Today, I'm going to show you how we're making that world a reality."


Your closing should:

- Summarize your key messages

- Reinforce your main purpose

- Provide a clear call to action


Vijay might close with: "We've seen how our new drug significantly improves outcomes, reduces side effects, and is cost-effective. The next step is to bring this life-changing treatment to those who need it most. Let's work together to make that happen."


9. Preparing for Q&A: Extending Your Content Beyond the Presentation


While not strictly part of your main presentation, preparing for the Q&A session is an essential part of creating your presentation content. Anticipate potential questions and prepare concise, clear answers.


This might involve:

- Creating backup slides with additional data or information

- Preparing examples or anecdotes that didn't fit into your main presentation

- Thinking through potential objections or concerns and how you'll address them


By preparing for the Q&A, you extend your presentation content beyond your formal speech, ensuring you're ready to engage with your audience and reinforce your key messages.


10. Reviewing and Refining: Polishing Your Presentation Content


The final step in preparing your presentation content is to review and refine. Read through your content multiple times, each time with a different focus:


- Does the content flow logically?

- Does each element support your key messages and overall purpose?

- Is the language appropriate for your audience?

- Are your visuals clear and effective?

- Have you eliminated unnecessary information?


Consider rehearsing your presentation in front of a mirror or with a trusted colleague. Their feedback can be invaluable in identifying areas for improvement.


Whether you're presenting a new pharmaceutical breakthrough like Vijay, pitching a business idea, or delivering a keynote speech, these principles will help you create presentation content that engages your audience, conveys your message effectively, and achieves your goals.


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If, like Vijay, you'd like us to work on your presentation, please visit the contact section of our website. From there, you can schedule a meeting or drop us a message. We’d love to collaborate with you and help you create an outstanding presentation.

 
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