How to Write A Brilliant Presentation

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How to Write A Brilliant Presentation: 5 Top Tips

If you’ve ever experienced pre-presentation jitters, you’re not the only one. Many people feel nervous and unprepared going into their presentations, even if they’re seasoned public speakers. However, there’s an easy way to reduce your presentation nerves.

Research shows that 91% of presenters feel more confident when presenting with a well-designed slide deck. This is why it’s well worth your time to invest in learning the top strategies for creating not just a good presentation, but one that will blow your audience out of the water. The good news is that you don’t have to do it alone!

Be Brilliant is sharing our best tips and strategies for creating a great presentation, in addition to explaining how our coaching sessions work to help you succeed.

  1. How to Write a Presentation: The Basics
  2. The Be Brilliant Blueprint for Presentation Structure
  3. 5 Top Tips for Writing A Killer Presentation

If you’re ready to say goodbye to presentation nerves and rock your next presentation, let’s dive right in!

How to Write a Presentation: The Basics

Presenters vs. Speakers

Before you begin working on your presentation, it’s important to identify if you’re serving as a true presenter or as a speaker. Here at Be Brilliant, we distinguish between these two labels because we believe they serve different purposes and require different levels of preparation for success.

A speaker can be anyone relaying information to an audience — when you’re leading a meeting, you’re a speaker. Even if you’re using a slide deck, you are usually relaying information, not taking your audience on a journey. You can think of being a speaker as singing an acapella solo. It’s just you and maybe your guitar on stage.

As a presenter, your actual presentation is a crucial part of the information you’re sharing. Unlike a meeting agenda, your presentation is not just a tool in the background, but an essential part of the journey you’re taking your audience on. Presenters aren’t just singing acapella, they’re singing with background singers and dancers, stage movement, smoke, and lights.

Common presentation mistakes

Regardless of whether you’re a seasoned presenter or a newbie, there are a few common mistakes everyone makes at least once in their presentation career. A few of these most common mistakes include:

  • Making your presentation visually uninteresting. No matter how serious your topic is, you want to make your presentation engaging to keep your audience interested.
  • Not planning out how you’ll interact with your presentation. Your presentation should serve as an aid to drive impact, not as a set of flashcards. Plan out what visual elements you’ll point out and when you’ll request audience interaction or other interactions.
  • Putting too much information on your slides. While you want your slides to be interesting, they shouldn’t be too packed with visuals and information or they could become overwhelming.
  • Not having clear takeaways. When giving a presentation, you’re aiming for your audience to walk away having been impacted by your presentation. You can’t achieve this if you haven’t identified what your key takeaways should be.
  • Not understanding your audience’s needs. Even though you have a specific objective in mind, it’s still important to look at things from your audience’s point of view and understand what they need from you, in addition to what you want to give or show them.
  • Prepare for virtual and in-person presentations in the same way. Virtual presentations are becoming more and more common in all sectors. It’s important to follow virtual presentation guidelines and best practices because preparing for a virtual presentation is quite different than preparing for an in-person speech.

Through this guide, we’ll help you learn how to not only avoid these mistakes but go above and beyond with the tried and true Be Brilliant method for building truly exceptional presentations.

The Be Brilliant Blueprint for Presentation Structure

Be Brilliant’s “Blueprint” is a tried-and-true way of creating stand-out presentations that communicate clearly, effectively, and impactfully. Coaching sessions are flexible to work with each individual presenter’s style and level of presentation development experience prior to your coaching session. Following this structure will help you nail your next presentation in the most time-efficient manner possible.

1. Pre-plan your presentation

What really makes a difference in Be Brilliant’s process is that instead of just filling out a worksheet by yourself, you work with an experienced professional who adjusts the process to best suit your individual planning needs. This is done based on your own goals, competencies, and how far along you already are in the planning process.

As you discuss all of the elements below, your coach is listening attentively for fluctuations in how you speak about things and taking extensive notes to best identify what you’re really excited about and what will stick out about your presentation.

1. Describe your audience.

Your Be Brilliant coach will ask you insightful questions and work with you to help create a crystal-clear image of exactly who you’re addressing. Who are they at work and outside of work? What do they want and feel? Through this process, you’ll not only aim to identify who you want to talk to, but who you need to talk to for maximum impact.

This will always be the very first step of your coaching session and depending on how well you already know who your ideal audience is, will take different amounts of time.

2. Determine your core point and story.

During this stage, you will work with your coach to identify your core point, your hook, and the story you’re taking your audience through. Because presentations are not simply relaying facts, your coach will work with you to ideate what the deeper journey and transformation will be. This can be the motivational type of presentation you would typically think of when hearing “journey,” but it can also be the journey of taking your audience from a point of frustration to a newfound clarity through the process or information you’re sharing with them.

A lot of advice will tell you to identify your core concept, but for maximum engagement and effectiveness, you’ll want to use the Be Brilliant method to begin building these three key elements. This way, you’ll not only have a core point, but you’ll also successfully convey it.

3. Identify your presentation category and ideal structure.

A unique part of Be Brilliant’s strategy that helps you not only build an excellent presentation but also build a presentation that matches your goals is the funnel used to select the right presentation structure for you. This is done by identifying:

  • One of four categories that your presentation falls into.
  • The emotional reasoning behind your presentation.
  • Whether you’re aiming to interest or persuade your audience.

Once your coach has helped you sufficiently identify these elements, your presentation format, or style, will be narrowed down to one of three options. This funnel method makes it incredibly efficient and simple to select from seemingly endless presentation format options. You’ll then work with your coach to select the one that works best for you and move forward in the planning process.

4. Build up your 3 main points

In order to successfully keep your presentation focused and concise, you want to only pick three main points to build your presentation around. Your three points can help guide your presentation from start to middle, and end.

Because you’re working with an actual experienced coach and not just filling out a worksheet on your own, these last steps can be customized to better fit your needs. By listening to your goals and what you already have figured out, your coach can adapt this process to be more efficient and create a more cohesive end result.

5. Design your Do-Remember-Feel ending.

Your ending is one of the most important parts of your presentation. It’s your last chance to impart wisdom to your audience and is likely what they’ll remember most. That’s why it’s crucial to have an excellent ending and to build your presentation with this ending in mind.

To make the most impact with your ending, Be Brilliant recommends using the Do-Remember-Feel strategy. With this strategy, you will decide what you want your audience to do (a next action step), remember (valuable insight), and feel (inspired, challenged, etc.) at the conclusion of your presentation. This strategy gives you a lens through which to view all parts of your presentation, to make sure they are culminating in this type of ending.

You may be thinking the blueprint process described above takes hours to complete. However, in one 30 to 60-minute coaching session, you’ll have a completed blueprint detailing all 5 steps.

2. Storyboard before making slides

Be Brilliant encourages you to “go analog” during this process and actually grab a pen and paper. This allows you to focus on the purpose of every slide and the value you’re conveying, rather than getting distracted by design elements and exact text at this stage. Effective storyboarding involves creating rudimentary “sketches” of your slides that will simply portray the main purpose of each slide in order to help you visually organize the course of your presentation. By doing this before you start designing, you can ensure your point is consistent all throughout the presentation and that your slides follow an intuitive and cohesive trajectory.

This is a step you can do yourself after your initial call, or you can hand it off to Be Brilliant. Alternatively, it’s even a process your coach can actively do with you.

3. Design effective and visually appealing slides

Now that you’ve finished storyboarding and you have a clear bird’s-eye view of your presentation and what it will accomplish, you can finally crack open your laptop and design your visuals. While keeping the purpose of each slide in mind, and the presentation structure you previously identified with your coach, you’ll have a much easier time deciding what kind of elements to include on each slide.

Similar to storyboarding, this step can also be handed off to Be Brilliant, or you can do it yourself after taking care of the building blocks together.

If you would rather do this step yourself, our top tips below can help you maintain that same level of quality you’ve been cultivating with your coach during the planning process.

5 Top Tips for Writing A Killer Presentation

1. Don’t use too much text

While it can be tempting to put everything you need to say on your slides, your audience will either not be able to read it all in time, or will get overwhelmed with all the information on the screen. You should aim to use your slides to highlight the most important parts of your presentation and introduce new topics, themes, and concepts as you go through your presentation.

Use these suggestions to keep your slides clean and easy to comprehend:

  • The 7×7 method. If you need a more text-heavy slide, use this style. It includes seven bullet points, each with no more than seven words.
  • The IX6 method. This type of slide consists of one image with only six words.
  • Don’t write things you can say. Words like however, nevertheless, actually, and other transitional phrases are essential to conveying your ideas correctly, but just hearing them will be enough for your audience!
  • If you need a comma, that should be a separate bullet point. You can verbally say the rest of the information or split it into another bullet point.

2. Only put one main point per slide

Be Brilliant recommends designing your slides as if they were billboards. By this, we mean you should assume your audience only has three seconds to read and comprehend your slide.

To do this, you’ll need to keep it to one idea per slide. If you followed the storyboarding process, your presentation should already be planned out in a way that maintains this structure. Stick to your storyboard and keep your slides simple and concise.

3. Use striking visuals

We remember visuals more than words, so using an image that evokes an emotion or a graphic that depicts what you’re explaining is often much more effective than writing out what you’re saying.

While you will likely use the 7×7 or IX6 method on many of your slides, you can even have some slides that only have an image. In order for the slide to still be of value and help you better convey your message, make sure that it is a high-quality visual that serves a clear purpose.

4. Include interactive elements

“Interactive” can mean something you can plan to interact with such as a prop, a portion of your presentation requiring audience participation, a demo, or having your audience actively complete a presentation hand-out. The handout can be especially effective if you have supplementary information you’d like to provide. A well-designed handout (not a digital copy of your slides) is a powerful tool to deepen learning and recapture the attention of your audience as you present. However, avoid including interaction for the sake of including interaction.

5. Make sure you are communicating value to the audience

No matter what presentation structure you choose to use or the subject matter of your presentation, your number one priority should always be to provide value for your audience.

This is why your Be Brilliant coach may discuss the ending of your presentation with you before you fill in all the missing pieces in the middle. When you follow Be Brilliant’s guide to crafting a Do-Remember-Feel ending, your audience will always walk away with an actionable next step, an enlightening insight, or a strong emotional conviction to take what you shared with them into their daily life.

Remember: if you can’t identify what your audience should do, remember, or feel after your presentation, you haven’t clearly outlined the value you’re providing to them yet.

Wrapping up

Creating your presentation, from the structure to the visuals, shouldn’t be overlooked or overdone. Be Brilliant Presentation Group can help you design an effective presentation that communicates your message in the most time-efficient manner possible. With Be Brilliant, you’ll start off on the right foot with a robust presentation plan, and then can customize the next steps to fit the level of help you need with storyboarding and actually building your presentation.

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