We’ve all attended meetings or presentations, both virtual and in person, and left wondering what was that all about or why was I asked to be an attendee? If you’ve suffered through one or more of those, or perhaps worse, conducted one of those, then there probably wasn’t much thought put into the preparation stage of the meeting or presentation. By considering the following checklist, you’re more likely to have a successful outcome.
- Audience: (Who) is your audience? What do they already know about your topic? Are they decision-makers? What is their attitude towards your topic or you?
- Time of Day: (When) is the meeting scheduled? Is it first thing in the morning? Right before lunch or right after lunch? Late afternoon? Just before a weekend or holiday? Right after a weekend or holiday?
- Purpose: (Why) are you talking to them? Is it to inform? To educate? To generate support for a project, product, or course of action? Knowing why you’re having this meeting or giving this presentation will help you decide what content to include and what content to leave out.
- Environment: (Where) will you be presenting? Will it be virtual or in-person? In a boardroom? A large or small conference room? A hotel ballroom? Your dining room or other room in your home? Your environment can also affect the type of media you use.
- Core Message: (What) are the one or two things you want them to remember from this meeting or presentation? If you can say your core message in a few sentences, then you have a good idea of what you’re trying to say. If it takes several paragraphs to state your main idea, it probably isn’t clear in your mind just what that main point is. If you’re confused, you can guarantee your audience will be confused.
- Desired Outcome: (What) do you want your listeners to know, do, feel, or believe as a result of attending your meeting or presentation? Knowing your desired outcome can also help you in deciding what content to include and what to exclude so you stay focused on the need-to-know information versus nice-to-know information.
If you have an answer to these six critical questions, you’ll be prepared to stay on time, stay on message, and ensure the attendees will have a clear takeaway as to what the next steps are and the necessary timeline for a successful outcome. When attendees are clear on the “Why” and the “What” of any meeting or presentation, they will feel the investment of their time in attending was worthwhile.
Tip: Include the Purpose and Outcome in the meeting invitation so the attendees have a framework for what to listen for, as well as have time to consider what questions they may want to ask.
For more information on leading more productive meetings and giving better presentations, please visit www.communispond.com and check out Communispond’s courses for virtual and in-person meetings and presentations. In particular, see information on Virtual Presentation Skills™, Virtual Meeting Skills™, and Executive Presentation Skills™.
About the Author
Jim Moushon is a Senior Master Trainer at Communispond. Jim’s areas of expertise are executive coaching, presentation skills, media interviews, persuasive dialogue, interpersonal communication, business writing, and sales effectiveness. In addition, he does train-the-trainer for Communispond as well as for many of Communispond’s clients.
You can connect with Jim on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/jim-moushon-b33b1810/.