You did it. You got it. You got the meeting on the calendar you’ve been wanting to get for months. Now it’s time to create your presentation to the audience you’re hoping to persuade.

And the challenge in front of you isn’t deciding what you should say. It’s determining what you need to leave OUT in order to make your point abundantly clear–knowing you’ve only got one shot.

At goBRANDgo!, we find that before we dive headlong into a project, it’s important to stop and ask ourselves, “What are we trying to accomplish here?”. Without this critical step, noise and confusion begin to creep in, hindering progress. When you’re giving a presentation (and approaching many other challenges—but that’s another post), what you’re trying to accomplish lies in answering three key questions:

  • What do you want the audience to feel?
  • What do you want them to think?
  • What do you want them to do once the presentation is complete?

We’ve seen about a million presentation decks in our days. We’ve left many presentations scratching our heads, pretty sure we got a few takeaways, but wondering if we missed something else valuable buried within the tidal wave of slides. What was the presenter really trying to accomplish? Sometimes, we don’t know. 

When we get the critical meeting, we don’t want to fall victim to the same fate. We don’t want to allow ourselves to get over-excited about our ideas and throw every piece of information we have at the audience. That’s why we use the three key questions as a filter for what we allow into our presentations and accompanying slide decks.

Most meeting agendas outline what topics of discussion will be covered. Sometimes, it’s not important to show this to your audience. When we begin a presentation, we put it out there: 

“By the end of this meeting, we want you to feel …, think …, and do ….” 

We take the same approach when determining what to include and discuss in each bullet point on the agenda. If it won’t motivate the audience to feel, think, or do the things we want them to, then it doesn’t belong and will only serve to distract from the impact of the message. 

So the next time you’re crafting a presentation, take the same approach that Michelangelo (supposedly) did when he was creating the David. Chip away everything that doesn’t directly serve what you are truly trying to accomplish. And when you’re finished, remind the audience what you set out to do at the beginning:

Have I made you feel ….?

Have I made you think ….?

What are you getting ready to do?

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