Designing an executive’s presentation is like designing a car.
It needs to fit the style of the executive. It needs to fulfil its function. It needs to be built for the appropriate audience. It needs to make the executive look and feel good and be proud of the end result.
On top of all that though, it needs to deliver the goods. There’s little point in owning a Ferrari if you only drive it to the shops once a week. Just as there is no point in owning a Ford Focus if you want to go to the race track.
Presentations have 2 crucial and equally important components – design and delivery.
If one is deficient, the end result won’t work. For instance, a really well-designed presentation delivered poorly will bomb. Similarly, a poorly designed presentation, delivered well, will also bomb, although the audience will be more forgiving in this circumstance.
Many years ago I was a speechwriter for a government minister. It was a frustrating role because the minister’s “minders” would never let me actually speak to him. Writing essentially political speeches was also not the most exciting.
In contrast, another role I had was to write speeches for a minister and also the State Governor. In this role, I was able to sit down with them individually and ask them questions that enabled me to tap into their “essence” and design a speech that was fitting for the occasion. It also reflected who they really were, and what the event at which they were speaking, meant to them.
Now, when I work with executives, I spend time working on the style they want to convey – like the car design. But I also want to know the inner workings so that the right points are expressed in the right way and at the right time.
There is both art and science involved in designing a presentation. There is also art and science in delivering a presentation. Together they are powerful and engaging, so the executive owns the room when they speak.
It takes time to design a powerful and engaging presentation, but it’s worth the investment.