Five Principles for Memorable Presentations

Guest Blogger: Andrea Pacini

Many business leaders overlook the essential principles for creating and delivering effective memorable presentations.

Some believe it’s all about putting together a set of PowerPoint slides. They think that as long as they have a decent deck, they’re set.

If you’re someone who spends most of your prep time creating slides, you’re missing the bigger picture. Presentations are about more than just slides.

What matters is how well you can present and convey your ideas to meet your goals. Whether it’s closing more deals, boosting sales, inspiring your team, enhancing your credibility, or advancing in your career, your presentation skills are key.

Consider this: in many aspects of life, we naturally follow some basic principles without a second thought.

For example, if you were learning a new musical instrument, you’d spend time on technique, such as finger placement or breath control, and practising scales.

To get good at a new sport, understanding the rules and mastering fundamental skills is crucial. In racket sports or golf, improving your swing is more important than having the latest gear.

So why do we often neglect the core principles of communication when it comes to improving our presentation skills?

Ignoring these principles leads to presentations that not only fail to engage the audience but also fall short of achieving their intended outcomes.

Memorable Presentations

Basics Before Bells and Whistles

To make your presentations work for you (and for your audience) and stand out in the business world, it’s crucial to grasp the basic principles first.

Thinking about PowerPoint before the principles is like fussing over a microphone without knowing how to sing.

Jeff Bezos talks about focusing on what stays the same rather than what changes. He says the key to success is paying attention to the constants.

In Amazon’s world, this meant sticking to always offering low prices, quick shipping, and a wide range of products. This focus on the unchangeable led to big wins for Amazon.

When we talk about presentations, Bezos’s idea applies too. We might get new tools and fancy software updates, but the basic principles for a great presentation won’t change.

Down the line, no one will tell you they wished your presentation was more complex, longer, harder to follow, less relevant, or just plain boring.

The Core Five for Impactful Memorable Presentations

Think of the acronym SCORE when you’re preparing for a presentation, much like scoring a goal in football:

Simple: Keep your message brief and to the point. The more concise your message, the more it sticks.

Clear: Ensure that your main points are straightforward and easily understood by everyone, including yourself.

Original: Make your presentation unique to make a lasting impression.

Related: Tailor your presentation to your audience. It should feel like it’s crafted just for them.

Engaging: An enjoyable presentation captures attention, enhances retention, and motivates action.

You can make a real impact when you integrate these five principles into the three fundamental aspects of presenting:

  • Your message: What you’re communicating.
  • Your delivery: The way in which you convey your message.
  • Your visuals: The visual aids you use to support your message.

For your presentation to be effective, each element (Message, Delivery and Visuals) must embody the SCORE principles, making it Simple, Clear, Original, Related and Engaging from every angle.

Missing any of these aspects can hinder the success of your presentation.

Consider how films are crafted: a hit movie has a compelling story (message), outstanding performances (delivery), and visually stunning scenes (visuals). A film lacking in any of these areas falls short, just like a presentation would.

Memorable presentations

Key Steps to Elevate Your Presentations

Wondering how to put all these ideas into action? Here are seven crucial steps to prepare for your next presentation that will boost its quality:

  1. Know your audience: Understand who you’re speaking to before you even start. Consider their needs and the context they’re coming from. This insight should shape everything about your presentation and make it related to your audience.
  2. Set a clear goal: Decide what you want your audience to think, feel or do after they’ve heard your presentation. This goal will guide your content and approach.
  3. Brainstorm key points: Step away from digital distractions. Use old-school methods like pen and paper, whiteboards or flipcharts to jot down your main ideas.
  4. Streamline your message: Simplicity is key. Distil your message to its essence, ensuring it’s simple enough for your audience to grasp and remember.
  5. Craft a compelling narrative: Turn your brainstormed ideas into a clear and
    engaging storyline. A well-structured narrative will help your audience follow along and retain the information.
  6. Be creative: Use stories, examples and analogies. They’re much more memorable than bare facts and will make your presentation original and enjoyable.
  7. Practice makes perfect: Rehearse your presentation multiple times. Familiarity with your material will boost your confidence and polish your delivery.

Adopting these steps for every presentation you make will not only improve your immediate performance but also develop your long-term skills as a presenter.

Wrapping It Up

Starting your presentation with PowerPoint might seem intuitive, but it’s not the best first step. A standout presentation comes from a deeper understanding and application of some fundamental principles.

Begin with the basics: grab a pen and paper. Take the time to consider who your audience is and the core message you want to convey.

Remember the acronym SCORE for crafting exceptional presentations: Keep it SIMPLE, ensure your message is CLEAR, add an ORIGINAL touch, make it RELATED to your audience, and always aim to make it ENGAGING.

These principles should guide the three pillars of any presentation: the content you share, the visual aids you use, and how you deliver your message.

Focus on what the audience needs, brainstorm creatively, distil your ideas to their essence, and practise until it feels second nature.

Stick to the essential principles, and you’ll be the presenter everyone remembers. Your ability to deliver impactful presentations will be your secret weapon, helping you reach your goals.

Andrea Pacini, author of the best-selling book ‘Confident Presenter’, is a presentation coach and Head of Ideas on Stage UK. He specializes in working with business owners, leaders and their teams who want to become more confident presenters.
Since 2010 Ideas on Stage has worked with thousands of clients around the world, including organizations like Microsoft, Spotify, eBay, The World Bank and over 500 TEDx speakers.
Andrea is on a mission to stop great ideas from failing just because of the way they’re presented. His vision is to help hundreds of thousands of business leaders inspire their audiences, increase their influence and make a positive impact in the world.
To get in touch or find out more, check out his LinkedIn profile

Dan Ram ignites the stage as an in-person event and virtual event MC/ Moderator & Speaker at over 100 events a year. He has shared the stage with international luminaries including President Barack Obama, Sir Richard Branson, Reid Hoffman, Nico Rosberg, and Grammy-winning artists and celebrities. He has also been recognized as a Top 40 under 40 leader 2020 as well as a Top 100 Yale Alumni in Technology 2021. He has dedicated 2023 to providing resources and coaching 500 international dreamers who are dedicated to launching new initiatives.  His passion is to inspire people with his motto ‘Start Now Start Simple’ in building a future we all want to live in. If you you are launching something new this year join #The500Club to receive resources and coaching from Dan!

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