20 Questions To Ask Yourself Before Presenting At Work

Presenting is a key skill for accountants and professionals.  A small number love presenting.  The rest are reluctant presenters or worse still do everything they can to avoid presenting.

Perhaps that’s not that surprising.  You become competent at presenting by doing more presentations.  If you are only doing once a while, it is going to be more of a challenge.

The good news is you can do a lot to increase your chances of presenting effectively at work.

So what are 20 questions to ask yourself before presenting at work?

20 Questions

Question 1: Why are you presenting?

In other words what’s the goal or outcome you want as a result of your presentation?  Inform, influence, educate, facilitate, bring about change or something else.

Question 2: What’s the core message?

Think about this as your overarching message within your presentation.

Question 3: Who is your audience or recipients of your presentation?

It’s key that you understand this.

Question 4: What level of interest does your audience have in your presentation?

Some hearing your presentations will have a big interest in your presentation.  Others may have little or limited interest.

Question 5: How is your audience impacted by your presentation?

Little impact might well mean little interest.

Question 6: What could you include in your presentation?

Make a list of everything you could include in your presentation.  

Remember people rarely have the problem of too little content and too much time when presenting at work.

Question 7: What content is most important to achieving your goal?

I call it your short list.  

Go through your long list and decide which points are most important to achieving your goal.

Question 8: Do you need slides?

Slides have almost become the default.  

But do you really need them?  If presenting to few people probably not.  

If presenting to a lot of people possibly.

Question 9: What type of slides do you need?

Lots of facts and figures.  Lots of pictures.  A mix of both?

Question 10: Are your slides there to support what you are saying?

Your slides are there to support your presentation.  They are not the presentation.

Question 11: What alternatives could you use instead of slides?

Slides are not your only option.  Could you use a prop, an infographic, cards that people pick and you talk about.

Question 12: How can you make it interactive?

Few like being talked at.  How can you make the presentation interactive?  

A quiz, a show of hands, an online live survey or poll.

Question 13:  How can you hold audience interest?

Attention spans are reducing dramatically.  People switch off quicker than you think.

Changing pace or involving at frequent intervals or something else?

Question 14: How will you get yourself in the zone?

By this I mean how will you set yourself up ahead of delivering?  

A sports team or athlete doesn’t just turn up at the allocated time and start playing. They have a warm up routine.

Question 15: How will you stop questions throwing you off track?

The simple answer is to anticipate what might be asked and have answers at your fingertips.

Question 16: How will you open your presentation?

What you say in the first minute is vitally important.  

Be clear about what you are going to say in your opening.

Question 17: What’s your most important point?

Start with that point.  This is particularly important if speaking to senior people in the organisation.

Question 18: How will you manage your nerves?

You will be nervous.  Everyone is.  Find a way of managing their impact.  

Remember the less preparation you have done, the more anxious you will be.

Question 19: How will you manage interruptions?

You might well state up front that you will take questions at the end.  

Then you get the person who continually interrupts.  

Consider a parking lot.  

A place where you write down their question to show that you have heard the question and don’t want to forget it.

Question 20: How will you close the presentation?

Like the opening this needs careful consideration.  

Summarising is good.  Think about 1 action you would like them to take. State next steps.

These are just a few ideas.

Bottom Line: Presenting at work can be challenging.  Remember proper preparation prevents pretty poor performance.