You have a million ideas stirring around in your head, right? The world is teeming with inspiration, and you’re constantly scrawling new projects on cocktail napkins at the bourbon bar, on the “notes” page of your pocket planner or, heck, even on the back of your hand. But how many of these ideas actually make it to the ears of someone important – that is, someone other than your best friend after a boisterous happy hour?
When you have an idea for something new, it’s easy to get excited about it… but then you lose that momentum and never share it, either out of fear that your idea isn’t good enough or because you aren’t sure how, exactly, to approach it. But what if you had a foolproof plan for your presentation? Would that change your mind at all? It’s easier than you think.
Before Your Presentation
There are a couple of tasks to complete before you should even fathom presenting your big idea to a boss or colleagues. Knowing your idea inside and out will establish your credibility when the time comes to present.
Research, research, research.
Before you go to the trouble of moving forward with your idea, it’s best to ask yourself some questions:
- Has anyone come up with this idea before? If so, were they successful? Why or why not?
- What would the competition be like?
Decide who your audience is.
Remember that seemingly amazing joke you told and absolutely no one (other than you) laughed? Make sure your idea isn’t a similar phenomenon by figuring out if you have an audience and who your audience is. Here are a few ways to accomplish this:
- Make your friends and family your guinea pigs and see what they think. And believe them if they tell you it’s not going to work.
- Imagine a scenario in which someone supports your idea. Who is the person? Write down their gender, age, occupation, social life and any characteristic you can think of.
- Think about television shows, magazines or websites that would serve as a marketing vehicle for your idea.
Determine an angle of approach.
Okay, so you have an audience and you know that the idea isn’t old news. You’ll need an angle for sharing it so it comes across as something that will make money, enhance your company and prove to be a success.
- If the point is profit, prove it can happen. Nobody wants a project that costs a lot of money and brings in no new dollars. Come up with a few good reasons that your idea will make money. If possible, use examples from other companies and from your research. You’ll need these in your presentation.
- If the point is not money but a better quality of office life, team camaraderie, helping the environment or whatever else, make sure no one will ask: “What’s the point?” after listening to you explain the project. Remember: What seems simple to you, as the inventor, may not be so clear to someone else. So spell it out.
Announce your intent to present.
It is now time to announce that you have news and that you’d like to make a presentation about the news. Send out a memo or email and let people know you have something special to share. Include how long your presentation will take so people can plan.
The Day of Your Presentation
It’s finally your day to knock everyone’s socks off with your presentation. After all the work you’ve put into this, you want everything to go smoothly, right?
Be your best self – and no funny business.
This is not the time to break up with a significant other or start a weird diet. Instead, utilize the time-tested tasks that your mother insisted upon years ago.
- Get plenty of sleep.
- Eat a balanced meal.
- Stay hydrated.
Show that you did your homework.
Your higher-ups and colleagues will be impressed to know that you researched the topic thoroughly. If you can’t prove that you know everything about your project, your presentation is guaranteed to fall flat.
Remember that people are easily bored.
It’s probably not going to wow your audience if you hand out a long-winded sheet of paper explaining your case. Instead, try alternative tactics.
- Get a couple of friends to help you act out a short skit where your product is purchased or your idea is implemented.
- Use visual aids in your presentation, such as colorful props and slideshows.
- Involve your audience somehow, perhaps with a questionnaire of some sort or giving away a prize for a right answer.
Wait a while, and then follow up.
Don’t nag your boss or colleagues about how you did for the rest of the day. Instead, let your ideas sink in and follow up later, asking for their genuine feedback.
Remember, a presentation doesn’t have to be a frightening experience; it can be a wonderful way to draw attention to your ideas and bolster your career or your role in the community. Just remember to prepare properly, and you’re sure to hear applause at the end.
Diana Gomez is the Marketing Coordinator at Lyoness America, where she is instrumental in the implementation of marketing and social media strategies for USA and Canada. Lyoness is an international shopping community and loyalty rewards program, where businesses and consumers benefit with free membership and money back with every purchase.
Image credit: CC by Vancouver Film School