The Institute for Crisis Management tracked 801,620 crisis news stories during 2017, an increase of more than 25 percent from 2016.
That’s why when the Hampton Roads chapter of PRSA asked me to present on crisis communications, I knew I was going to have to do some research on the latest incidents. Plus, it had been about four years since I last presented on the topic, and I would need to rework some of the slides. In all, I spent about 15 hours preparing.
Based on the feedback and follow-up questions, I think it was worth it.
I share this because some people think they can simply whip up a PowerPoint and then present. To succeed, the prep time is critical. Here are some areas to consider:
- Decide what the look and feel of your slides will be.
- Identify the photos, illustrations and artwork that you will use.
- Consistently use font face and type size on all slides
- Keep words to a minimum on the slides.
- Avoid full sentences.
- Never read your slides.
- Always summarize your 2-3 key points.
- Make the key points memorable so they will stick with your audience.
- Know the composition of your audience and tailor your presentation accordingly.
- Find out what they are expecting.
- Always ensure that your presentation description matches what you present.
- Know your slides.
- Speak with confidence.
- Don’t speak too quickly.
The first practice round I did with my colleagues, I realized I had too many slides, and that I was treating the presentation as if it was a full-day training session. I spent a few more hours on it. I cut slides, added case studies and identified key points. I did a second practice session, and knew I had the right presentation.
The effort put into a presentation pays off when you look at the audience and you see people taking notes, tweeting and nodding in agreement.