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How do I prepare a fifteen minute presentation of a project business case?

This is a good question I got and thought to share the answer with everyone, as I get asked this question often.

The most important thing is to start with “drawing a big picture:” so, before you start working on content so diligently, stop and ask your self the following questions.  Take your time answering them and do not rush them so to get to the “important stuff” which is preparing the presentation.  This IS the most important thing in a presentation, not the content.  So here are the questions:

1. What is the context? 

– What is the purpose of the presentation?

– Who is attending?  their background, ages,interests, influence?

– What are your goals from the presentation?

– What are the goals of those attending?

– What does an “excellent presentation” look like?

– What is the ideal outcome your and your audience and stakeholders want from the presentation?

– Are you presenting alone, or is your presentation part of a bigger longer presentation?  what you say it will be different based on this.

2. find a theme for your presentation.  To do that here are some tips:

– What is it you want to tell these people?

– What do you want them to do?

– Can you state the above in a simple few words sentence?  can you present it early, and reiterate it so it sticks?

– how hard is it to convince? are you driving a tough bargain?  or is it an “easy sell”?

– What are the main objections and questions your audience will have to prevent them from “buying” your proposal?  do you have convincing answers for them (if you are not convinced chances are they will not be convinced)?

3. Time to develop an outline

– Go now to Powerpoint

– Start creating an outline (table of content) for your presentation.  do not be traditional.  focus on what they want to hear, do not put “filler” information, like formalities, useless info, etc.  When  you put the outline, consider that each slide answers an important question, concern, or interest for you audience to accept your proposal.  otherwise, it is a waste of time.

– A good generic outline for a business case, brief one, is:

  • Title,
  • Introduce yourself (if you are good, you can do this in a creative way that relates to your project and get people attention),
  • Goal from presentation,
  • Agenda (with minutes for each item), here you should tell your audience if you want them to wait until you finish or to ask you as you go.  it depends on how good they and you are in managing the time.
  • General info about the project, who what where why when (very briefly)
  • Draw a picture of what life will be like when the project will be completed (value from the project)
  • Why it is the best alternative (you can either focus on your project, or on subliminally and tactfully show how other alternatives do not work as well.)
  • Challenges expected (HERE BE CAREFUL, you can use this to show them thatyou know their concerns and that they will be addressed properly).  Be brief unless it is a tough sell and they are really concerned.
  • Reiterate value briefly but convincingly
  • Tell them how they can continue the discussion or get more info
  • Ask them for action.  This can be titled NEXT STEPS, WHAT IS NEEDED, etc.
  • Q and A

4.  Now get the “beef” for your presentation.  the less words the better, the more graphs and pictures the better

5. MORE TIPS:

– Do not apologize for  anything while presenting.  you look weak.  never apologize for not being prepared, for not having info, nothing what soever

– Be confident. breathe and smile.  it helps

– Do not read the slides.  put a word on the slide or a picture that is inviting, then talk about it

That s it .  Good luck

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