What’s the first question a speaker should ask while preparing?
Good preparation for a presentation starts with asking good questions, especially of yourself.
The first question you need to ask yourself is, “Why are you speaking?”
You need to answer this question before you create your presentation so you deliver the right message. If you don’t know why you are speaking – don’t speak – because you will fail.
You should be able to verbalize the answer to this question in one short sentence. Perhaps you want the client to buy your premium service, your staff to work together like a team, or your investors to contribute another million. Be clear on the answer to this question, then design your presentation so it clearly answers it for your listeners.
For example a client of mine was preparing a presentation for a new prospect. We explored this question, “Why are you speaking?” He suggested that it was to show that his company was capable of doing the job. On further probing we realized that “capable” wasn’t enough. What my client really wanted to get across to his prospect was that the prospect would be stupid not to buy from my client. We needed to create and deliver a presentation that positioned my client as hot and irresistible.
That realization changed the nature, words and tone of the presentation. Capable just doesn’t cut it when you want to leave the impression of hot and irresistible.
Before you start building your next presentation, ask yourself, “Why are you speaking?” What do you hope to accomplish.
Start by asking yourself the right question and the rest of your preparation falls easily into place.