When you first find out that you have to give a presentation, you need to think about what you’ll say. Here are 4 principles of communication — guidelines that you should use to ensure that your audience will find what you say valuable and meaningful.
1. Add value
People want to hear something they don’t know. Even if you’re giving a persuasive talk, you should offer your audience information or concepts they don’t know. That’s right, even persuasive presentations involve some teaching.
You need to have some idea of what your audience knows in order to teach them something new. You can often do some research to get more information about their level of knowledge. Sometimes, you can simply ask them.
2. Be relevant
Your content needs to be helpful and useful. It should be at the appropriate level for your audience’s knowledge, skills, and experience. Try to find out what your audience needs and wants. In most cases, you want to give people information that they can use, act on.
Don’t be boring! Your audience will tune out and won’t find the value.
3. Be accurate
Know your subject well. Ideally, you”ll speak on topics that you know. If necessary, do some research, using reliable sources.
Being accurate doesn’t mean that you have to include every piece of data and content you can find about a topic. Filter out what you present, because much of it isn’t relevant.
4. Be clear and organized
Once you have decided on what you’ll say, organize it and make it crystal clear. Use meaningful graphics, tell stories, make analogies and provide examples.
Prepare and practice so that you can deliver a meaningful presentation.
What principles of meaningful communication do you use? Leave a comment!
Great points, Ellen. To ensure parallelism, I would change the first quadrant to “Be Beneficial.”
Dale, it’s a good point! But I really like “Add value.” It’s more active and is a familiar phrase. In fact, I was looking for some verb besides “be” for one or more of the others. Any ideas?
You could say “Add Relevancy” instead of “Be Relevant”.
Not as succinct. Maybe Stay relevant?
I don’t know…
I would add to speak in alignment with your authenticity. I can’t stand to see cookie cutter presentations following the standard formula. It bores people to tears and doesn’t support them.
It’s important to empower people to speak their truth. We each have gems to share.
Elena, I agree that authenticity is essential — I would put it as an underlying basis to all 4 principles. You might be interested in an older post I wrote, “12 steps to becoming a charismatic speaker.”
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