Presentation content is the stuff that you actually talk about in your presentation. Presentation content is directly related to the presentation topic, of course. But choosing presentation content seems to be a bit of a problem for many people. Understandably it’s not always easy to figure what to include in your presentation content because you don’t want to leave anything out, or put in too much. So I’ve got some tips for you to help you choose your presentation content when you’re stuck that I hope you’ll find helpful.

First, why are you giving the presentation?

You need to clearly understand the reason why the presentation is being given. What’s the purpose of your presentation? This seems like an obvious answer… because you have to, right?

But in all seriousness, you need to clearly understand what your presentation is supposed to do, or what it’s purpose is. For example, maybe it’s:

  1. Showing knowledge about a particular topic because it’s an assignment for class or work
  2. Presenting an idea to a group of peers because you have to help them learn something
  3. Pitching a business, product or service to potential customers or investors because you need to raise funds for your company

Second, “It’s about them, not you!”

This second one is more like 1A, than number 2 because who your audience is and what they care about almost completely determines what your presentation content should be. This seems totally obvious but it’s something that both experienced and inexperienced presenters struggle with, or completely lose sight of on a regular basis.

For example, someone recently asked me on YouTube what are the four most important aspects of social media that she should talk about in her presentation. And that was all she told me. To her, it seems like a simple question… and it could be, but without any knowledge of her audience there is no way I could give her an appropriate answer.

Imagine if her audience was made up of senior citizens and the purpose of her presentation was to teach them how to use social media to stay connected with family. And if I told her to talk about four things that were related to using mobile video for content marketing, would that work? Definitely not! The audience in this case wouldn’t know what was going on and would probably wonder if they were in the right presentation.

So when choosing presentation content, put yourself in the shoes of the audience and ask, “Why should I care?” And constantly remind yourself that it’s about them, not you.

My friend Craig Hadden over at Remote Possibilities has a great post about this topic that you should check out: Secret #8 of star presenters: Christopher Witt on “What’s in it for me?”

Third, start learning about your audience early on

One of the biggest mistakes presenters make is not getting started early preparing their presentation. In particular, you need to spend time understanding your presentation’s true purpose and who your audience is. You may assume that you know, but you may change your opinion after giving this some thought.

The worst thing that could happen, and I’ve seen this more than a few times, is you could get far into your preparing your presentation content before realizing your content is totally wrong for your audience. At least you can fix it. The absolute worst thing is not knowing and giving the presentation with content that’s totally wrong for the audience. Epic. Failure.

Let me know your thoughts on preparing presentation content. What do you do? What have you experienced?