Most presentations are complicated messes.  Listeners wonder “What are the key points?”, “Why should I care?”,  “Why is this so complicated?” and “Do we have to look at that many slides?”

Complicated presentations are so unnecessary. There is a fast approach to creating simple presentations that connect with the needs of any audience.  And you won’t need to create a single PowerPoint slide.

I call it “The Three Q Method.”  It works because it is built around your audience members’ key questions about the topic.

The only prop you’ll need is a flip chart.

Ask Yourself “What Are the Three Questions My Audience Would Ask Me?”

Most presentations stink because they fail to provide what most listeners want – answers to their key questions.  The Three Q Method addresses this issue by focusing the presentation on three audience questions.

Next time you have to create a presentation, don’t go to your computer and open up PowerPoint.  Instead, take out a blank sheet of paper and ask yourself “What are the three questions my audience would most likely ask me about this subject?”

Those three questions will become the basis of your presentation.

Start Delivering the Presentation with a Brief Introduction of the Topic

To deliver your presentation, start by briefly describing your topic.  Keep it to just a few sentences.  Let’s say that you’re giving a presentation to clients on how to grow revenues in your practice group.

I think we all agree that we need to grow revenues.  Today, I’d like to talk about how we can do just that.

After introducing the topic, introduce the questions, writing them on a flip chart

If I were you, I’d probably ask three questions.

  • What is our biggest source of revenue today?
  • What will be our key source of revenues in the future?
  •  How do we tap into that source of revenues?

As you introduce the questions, write them on a flip chart. This gives the audience an easy way to follow your presentation.

Then go back and answer the three questions.

In the body of your presentation, answer the questions in as much or as little detail as you feel is necessary.

Be sure to start each section by repeating the question. It’s OK if this sounds redundant. The goal is clarity. Your listeners will appreciate how easy it is to follow you.

The best way to answer each question is to give a simple answer in the first sentence or two. Then elaborate as much as you’d like.

So let’s talk about the first question: What is our biggest source of revenue today?

Right now our key source of revenues is our relationship with Allied National Data Corporation. Over the last five years, we have relied on that firm for 95 percent of our revenues.  We do almost all of their legal work and the fact is that we probably won’t be able to grow our revenues with that client.

End by opening up the floor for questions.

Everyone’s favorite part of the presentation is the Q&A.  It’s where listeners can get their specific needs addressed. So when you’ve finished answering the three key questions, take more from your audience.

You don’t need lots of slides for a great presentation. All you need to do is answer your audience’s key questions simply and clearly.

Speechworks is a communication and selling skills coaching firm. We teach professionals how to craft and deliver complex messages in a simple, persuasive manner. Since 1986, through workshops and one-on-one instruction, we have helped countless individuals become better presenters and communicators. You can reach us at 404.266.0888, speech@speechworks.net or on the web at www.speechworks.net

Joey Asher

President of Speechworks, a selling and communication skills coaching company in Atlanta. He has worked with hundreds of business people helping them learn how to communicate in a way that connects with clients. His new book 15 Minutes Including Q&A: a Plan to Save the World from Lousy Presentations” is available now. He is also the author three previous books including “How to Win a Pitch: The Five Fundamentals That Will Distinguish You from the Competition”, “Selling and Communication Skills for Lawyers” and “Even A Geek Can Speak.” He can be reached at 404-266-0888 or joey@speechworks.net

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