What if your presentations connected with audiences on an emotional level rather than just recounting product or program features? What if you could translate technical or substantive expertise into a message that engaged even the most novice audience? Becoming a more captivating presenter can improve your executive presence and influence, increase your sales, and accelerate your career.
Unfortunately, many presenters rely on a logical appeal to an audience’s intellect using dense language and even denser slides. We teach students instead to focus on the problem they are solving for their audience and to convey their solution in a relatable story with effective visuals.
We help experts deliver presentations that move an audience to listen, understand, believe, and act. Our approach incorporates literature and best practices from the fields of interpersonal communication, leadership, neuroscience, and sales. We also draw on our analytic experience at the CIA, where we presented critical national security topics to skeptical audiences by leading with a strong bottom line that clearly conveyed the what and so-what of the story.
The PWP Workshop helps students rethink the purpose, content, and style of their presentations and offers opportunities to practice and receive constructive criticism from peers and the instructor. All students also get a comprehensive course manual and a helpful tips graphic.
The course introduces a simple formula for success that includes six main elements:
This section clarifies what every presenter must do to succeed in their mission to inform and perhaps persuade.
This session focuses on the critical importance of knowing your audience and always targeting your message to their specific needs. It explores the need to understand and speak to their expertise, biases, problems, and preferences.
The focus here is on the requirement for a presentation’s message to be accessible, concise, and credible. Borrowing from CIA analytic tradecraft, this session also highlights the importance of having a clear bottom line up front.
This session introduces what for most students will be radical concepts about how to rethink and repurpose PowerPoint slides. It examines the problems typical slides create for audiences and the presenter and offers a set of simple rules to make everyone’s experience better.
This session addresses the challenges of speaking in front of others. It looks at the critical role of practice and preparation and the key elements of delivery, such as confidence, empathy, and physicality. It also highlights the importance of projecting passion and energy.
This final element of the PWP formula offers strategies for preparing for and navigating question and answer sessions to ensure an effective briefing does not go off the rails when the floor opens to questions.
The Workshop normally runs three days. On the first day, we present our formula for success and lead the class through several exercises. On the second day, students prepare and deliver their first practice presentation and receive critiques. On the third day, they modify their presentation based on those critiques, and we repeat the process. Having the chance to do two presentations and incorporate suggestions helps reinforce the first day’s lessons. If the client desires, we can film all presentations. We also try to involve students’ supervisors in the second presentation to help practice Q&A in a more realistic environment. We can run one- and two-day versions of the workshop that remove or cut back practice time if that better serves our client’s needs.