In last week’s article, I discussed the effectiveness of the “information sandwich” and how it relates to your workplace emails. This week, I encourage you to use the sandwich model for your presentations because the same rules apply:
- Tell them what you’re going to tell them (bread #1)
- Tell them (the “stuff”)
- Remind them what you just told them (bread #2)
When it comes to presentations in particular, consider that when you’re speaking to a group of people, there’s more opportunity for distraction. So being be direct, connecting, and repeating to drive home your message becomes even more important.
In presentations, most people do a decent job of laying out what they’ll be presenting (i.e., bread #1). If nothing else, the presentation title should clue the audience into what they might expect us to tell them, and often we include an agenda slide to preview the structure of the presentation.
And the presentation content (i.e., the “stuff”) is whatever we design it to be.
What most people could do a much better job of is recapping their bottom-line purpose at the end (i.e., bread #2). It might be something as simple as reminding them what you said at the beginning of the presentation.
“When I started this presentation, I said I’d talk to you about our proposal for Client X so that you could take away some lessons learned that you could apply to your own proposals in the future. Well, we’ve gone over (Subtopics A, B, and C), and I hope that you’ve come away with some new insight to help you put together stronger proposals in your projects.”
If you’re not in the practice of recapping why you presented what you presented, this approach could feel like overkill. I mean, after all, didn’t the audience just sit through your presentation? Well, yes, but this is your final opportunity to connect with them and make sure that they’re taking away from it what you intended for them to take away.
Remember, unless you’re in the movie or fiction writing business, your audiences don’t want to be kept in suspense. And no matter what business you’re in, no audience wants to be confused at the end of a presentation. Serve your business audiences an “information sandwich” that provide them with the structure of your presentation, and wrap it up neatly and confidently so they leave satisfied with the good “stuff” you’ve just served them!
Guillermo Villar is principal coach with Cambio Coaching. He helps high-achieving individuals and teams communicate with intention to get the business results they want. If you’re interested in working with Guillermo, sign up for a free exploratory meeting.