passing the batonHave you ever stumbled on a fantastic restaurant or read an amazing book, and you could not wait to tell everyone about it?  That’s how I feel about executive coaching this week.  I had the pleasure of being part of three invigorating sessions, each resulting in all kinds of insight and inspiration. I’m thinking, why not keep those good vibrations going?   So here is a brief coaching session for anyone working on a presentation. I hope it helps you move the needle on your content choices, your key message points, and your ability to tell a good story. Grab a pen and a piece of paper so that you can write down the answers to these questions.

1. Tell me about your audience.  Who will be there and how much do they matter to you?

2.  Next, what keeps them up at night? Or, if that’s not relevant, why will they be in attendance?

3.  Now think about your purpose. Can you write it in one sentence?  Try it.

4.  Can you boil it down to three words?

5.  Moving onto the content of your presentation: does it align with the answers to the above questions? If your answer is yes, good for you, move on to the next question.  If the answer is no, then take your pen or your mouse and delete anything that does not line up (even if it’s painful – just do it).  If it hurts too much, then do a “save as.” Just get it out of the way for now.

6.  Next, do you have a really clear beginning, middle, and end to your presentation?

7. Does your introduction comprise no more than 15% of the total presentation?  Of course, the only way to know the answer to this question is if you get up right now and say it out loud.

8.  What can you do to make your presentation really sing?  Do you have examples, data, and perhaps an alarming (or hopeful) statistic?  Where should you place each of these items for the best flow and build to your conclusion?

9.  How good are you at grabbing your audience’s attention?  Would you like to get better at it?  If yes, then think about your use of storytelling and the ways in which you connect with people. Let’s take each of these separately.


CL Society 49: Whispering

Photo by Francisco Osorio

10.  Look at the image to the left and try to write four to five sentences that tell your audience what they are looking at.  If presenters fail to do this, audience members draw their own conclusions, and they may not be anywhere near where you want them to be.

11. Now, for those of you who spend a lot of time with charts and graphs, try the same exercise with the chart below.  What should the audience take away from this slide? What would you do to this slide to make it even more compelling?Coaching Session Slide


12. Do you tend to look people in the eye or look at the floor/screen?  Can you come up with a goal regarding the ways in which you plan to relate to your audience?

13.  What about your ability to pause silently for maximum effect?  Where in your presentation would a one to three-second pause really deliver for you?

14.  In what ways do you convey authenticity?  Let’s get back to the ‘three words’ exercise.  Write down three adjectives that you want your audience to think about you when the presentation is over.

15.  Now, what do you need to do to ensure that it happens?

Would you like to continue this session?  Just give us a call!  If you let us know that you found our contact information from this blog post, we will give you a 20% discount off any coaching package.

Don’t leave your reputation to chance.

– Barbara

Barbara is Head Coach at SWP and author of the upcoming book Commit to Confidence: 30 Strategies to Help Women Step Up and Stand Out. She can be reached at Google + at +Barbara Roche.

Barbara Roche