Saturday, April 23, 2011
The book I read this week was 15 Minutes Including Q & A by Joey Asher. It's a book about giving great presentations. It's a book based around being simple and it does that quite well.
I have seen quite a few presentations and Asher is completely right in his book when he says that people drone on about what the audience has no interest in. Presentations are not about showing your audience how much you know about a specific idea, but this is what a lot of people demonstrate. They go over the history or the idea, the problems that occurred when they were trying to find a solution to the problem, they tell the audience about 101 facts that they don't really intend the audience to know... they end up talking for long periods of time and want to demonstrate their knowledge. Presentations should have a purpose, they shouldn't just be done because of a mundane business habit. If there is a problem, you research a method to fix it, and then you present your pitch to an audience that can help you. Or you may be researching an idea and you are tasked with teaching a group of people the necessary information on that subject. Asher explains how to simplify your pitching or educating process. 7 minutes for your presentation and then 8 minutes for your Question and Answer portion.
You need to present the problem, give the audience the three most important take-aways, recap your ideas, and then present the call to action. Don't waste your audiences time and don't pretend that your presentation is some kind of game to convince everyone how much of an expert you are. You should be an expert before you even start presenting. That's where the Q and A comes in... the audience is going to ask you questions, tough questions. And it's your job to answer them. "What is the ROI?", "How long will the project take?", "When will we be starting?" Expect every question and have answers to them.
Another thing that Asher covers is Powerpoint presentations. And how a lot of presentations are based around the Powerpoint instead of the other way around. Having a Powerpoint presentation with 50 slides does no one any good. That is way too much information for any audience to absorb and your audience does not want to take the slides home to learn what you talked about... why did you waste their time by bringing them to a forum to show them anyway.
I think Asher did a very good job of 'presenting' this book. He keeps it simple and that is exactly what is needed when you are giving presentations. You are there presenting information to an audience, you are doing a service to them, so... give them what they want and keep them interested. Asher covers lots of great things in this simple book. It's short, but extremely helpful. As always, if you have any questions on the book don't hesitate to ask. I would be more than happy to help anyone that wants it.