Whether you are teaching a class of wiggly 3-year olds or speaking to an audience of thousands, communicating important content to the listeners is a responsibility that the speaker needs to embrace and fulfill. If we are to be at maximum influence, we will need to plan in advance for the delivery from start to finish. Here are five key objectives that you should strive to accomplish by the conclusion of your presentation and they are easy to remember thanks to “Old MacDonald”.
It is important that you have a clear awareness of your mission when you take your place in front of those who have gathered to hear what you have to say. You are there to change the status quo. You are to add value to the listener’s life by educating them with new material, practical application, challenges and ideals. If your audience leaves the room with no new knowledge, skill or aspiration, then you have failed as a communicator.
What will your listeners take home after your have addressed them? This is sometimes called the objective and the best way to identify that objective is to complete this question, “As a result of this lesson, my students/audience will know/be able to ________________.” If you do not know what it is you are wanting to accomplish in your presentation, don’t count on the students to be able to pick it out on their own. I like to use a simple three-step plan for helping my students identify my key point(s):
- Tell them what you are going to tell them (Introduction)
- Tell then (Lesson)
- Tell them what you told them (Review)
Emphasizing that main point those three times will help ensure that your students get your point.
There are few crimes greater in my book, than to bore people with Truth. There simply is no excuse for a dry presentation. The distance between dry information and exciting application is about 18 inches — the distance between the head and the heart. If you only focus on transferring information without ever acknowledging the human impact of that information, you will have an audience that will have checked out to varying degrees. Jesus, the Master Teacher, used everything from stories to recitations to sarcasm to object lessons to soaring prose to mystery to keep the attention of His audience throughout the Gospels. We should learn from His example. Laughter, dramatic tension and emotion are all tools that will help move Truth from the head and into the heart.
If you entertain and educate, but fail to inspire, you did not complete your task. Inspiration is what moves people to ACT on what they have learned. It moves people to APPLY what they have heard. It challenges them to ASPIRE to something greater than what they have been doing. It is lazy to transfer raw information and then fail to challenge the listener to use that information in use what they have learned for the good of others and the glory of God.
Rare is the individual who can successful “wing” an effective presentation. There needs to be a plan to what you are saying and how you plan on saying it. Don’t even think about simply reading your presentation, but having an outline is essential. And like writing a paragraph, a paper or a book, having an outline is important. Capture their attention and imagination in the introduction. Deliver the content in the body. Review and challenge the audience to greatness in the conclusion. Once you know the outline, then you can fill in the “extras” — the illustrations, the applications, the inspirational moments, the calls to action.
E-I-E-I-O — it’s simply and its effective. Take a few extra minutes and make sure you round out your next presentation with all five goals.