July 7th 2011 @ 8:59 am

7 Elements for a WoW Presentation

I just had to sit through another presentation with a frozen smile on my face, nodding my head, acting engaged, trying not to fidgit and keep eye contact with the speaker as I watched that ball of spit move from his bottom lip to his top lip.  The lights were dimmed so we could make sure to see the most important part of the presentation - the powerpoint slides - which made me want to fall asleep. The speaker talked about everything.... on the slides!  The subject - hmmm.... I don't remember!  Have you been there?  Where you the speaker?  No - not you?  

Have you ever walked out of a presentation and said to yourself, "WOW, that was great - I want to be that, I want to buy that, I want to do that?"  Most likely it wasn't because of the WHAT, it was because of the PRESENTATION of the WHAT.

How can you ensure that everyone is engaged, passionate and WoWed by your presentations?  Here are some easy tips that can help you prepare each time before your "big show".  For those really special engagements, feel free to contact us for a private or group coaching session @wowcustomer.com. 

During my years as a training manager I had the opportunity to not only speak to audiences of all sizes and types of industries,  but also watch many presentations, those with educational content and those delivering different types of messages.  I believe these 7 steps can help everyone deliver a WoW presentation.  As you prepare write these steps down and then write how you will accomplish each step. 

1. Know your audience!  Always remember you are not the star, you’re audience is.  They have come to learn from you, but in order for your message to resonate it has to be relevant.  Focus on one topic and have three key takeaways.  Engineers typically need visuals and diagrams, sales people need energy, movement and engagement.  If you can take your students to their enviornment and use their tools, aisles, cars, dentist chairs, etc. - all the better!  Demonstrate - hands on!

2. Prepare!  No matter how professional and experienced you are you must know your content inside and out.  Once you understand your audience research their demographic and are able to weave it into the presentation. Practice and hone your delivery.  No one wants to listen to a scripted presenter and if you know your content you can move through with the tempo needed for any given audience.  Body language matters!  If you are most comfortable standing behind a podium insure you have movement in the tone of your voice & presentation.  If you like to “dance” on the stage find marks to stand for at least 2 – 3 minutes.  Dancing around on stage is distracting and takes away from your message.  Make sure EVERYONE can hear you before you begin.  Use a microphone if necessary.

3. Connect!  Every presentation that I remember started with an emotional connection.  A moving or funny story, a connection to the association or group you are speaking to, a mention of the city or company.  Find a way to connect.  Always remember why would someone sit up and WANT to listen. Be interactive with your audience as appropriate.  A show of hands in the middle of a presentation can really break things up.  This gains ownership and keeps the audience thinking, maybe he is going to ask another question.

4. Be Passionate!  If you are not passionate about your topic, don’t present.  You must show emotion and be passionate.  If the topic you’ve chosen or have been given is simply boring, mix in a relevant story or anecdote.  If you are tired, do five minutes of aerobic activity and deep breathing prior to starting. 

5. Stay Focused!  Share your agenda with the audience up front; let them know what you are going to talk about and what your key points will be.  This keeps you honest as you must deliver.  Keep a list of bullet points you must address, and in order, on a note card or on the podium.  You need to know this like the back of your hand.  Do not rely on Microsoft PowerPoint™.  Use a flip chart if this keeps you on track. Have someone in the front row flash time cards in fifteen, then ten, then five minute intervals with a time is up card to insure you finish on time.  Finish with review of the three key takeaways and repeat back from the audience to insure retention.

6. Q&A!  If time permits always end with at least two or three questions.  The most important thing about Q&A – repeat the question!  This not only insures the audience hears the question, but more importantly it lets you hear the question once again to insure you answer the question.  At all costs do not go into a long story or answer.  Be as succinct as possible so you can stay focused and so others can ask questions as well.


7. Thank you & Contact Information!  Always remember to thank those who’ve invited you and the audience.  Remember to direct everyone to a place where they can find your contact information.

It is amazing, isn't it?  The elements of creating a WoW Presentation are actually very similar, if not the same, as creating WoW moments in any envirornment!  Remember it is always about the customer - in this case the audience!

Terrie Rolwes

Wow Customer Experience Group

Every Moment Can Be A WoW Moment!

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