First, remember the “outcome” you seek. This is usually a meeting, so only pitch enough detail to get interest to have that meeting! Don’t over do it, keep it simple, and ask for the meeting (or other outcome you need)
- Identify the 3-5 key points you want the audience to remember. These will inevitably be the key points of the investment case. Build the presentation (or meeting) around these points.
- Limit the amount of information you give an audience, so that they don’t have any difficulty identifying the key points.
- Start with a strong statement, after which all your comments should reinforce the opening. The strong start should provide a theme for the presentation, which can be pulled together by reference to it at the end (e.g. “I said right at the start….”). That start may be your key message, or the reason why they should listen to your story.
- Back up key points with evidence in the form of facts and figures, but also use examples, analogies, metaphors, anecdotes and success stories to bring issues, especially abstract areas, alive and make them memorable. Every-day examples are best. Use just enough evidence to provoke interest in and discussion of the key point. That way the Q&A discussion is more likely to be centred around what you said i.e. the key points of the investment case you want them to agree with and remember.
- In general, look through your notes/script, once created, to see what visuals are needed. Visual aids should reinforce and clarify your message, not lead the presentation. By using visual aids to illustrate a point made by the speaker, the audience will see who is in control and gain a more positive impression of you the management team. If using slides, make sure that there are some blank slides in the presentation, to ensure that the audience’s attention returns to the speaker.
- If you are writing a script (only suitable for use with larger audiences, make sure it is written in spoken not grammatical English. Keep sentences short and snappy and break them up with dots ( …. ) to encourage conversational delivery. Use contractions such as “we’re” rather than “we are” and avoid literary, weak words such as “however” and “therefore” – use “but” and “so.”
- All audiences have limited attention spans. Short presentations are better than longer ones. A maximum of twenty minutes is a good guide.
- Close dramatically. Summarise the key points and end on an upbeat note by referring to your strong start and reinforcing – conversationally – the investment case.
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