Presentations Tip 02 – Begin With the End in Mind

Stephen Covey offers this advice in his book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People”. The book is a guide to developing your personal leadership. “Begin with the end in mind” is the first habit and thus likely the most important. You can apply this first habit from Stephen Covey’s leadership prinpcles  to your presentation in three ways.

1. Develop your presentation with the end in mind. The first thing that you should do is to write a short simple statement that clarifies your purpose. Then you will develop your presentation faster and it will be better focused. Invest the time and thought to clairify the purpose and desired outcomes of your presentation. Too many people speak just because they were asked or told to speak. Thus, their presentation becomes a chore – to them and the audience.

2. Give your audience a roadmap. Tell your audience, early in your presentation, where you are going. Don’t make them guess – because you might lose, confuse or annoy them. Your audiences needs to know why they should listen to you. They have plenty of others things on their mind and they will not give you the attention you want unless you convince them that you know where you are going.

For example: “By the end of this presentation you will have a better understanding and appreciation of the safety measures that we have put into place for you.”

3. Deliver your presentation with the end in mind. The only reason you are speaking is to achieve your goal. Stay focused on your goal during your presentation so you don’t get thrown by diversions or drawn off on tangents. And if you reach your goal early – they agreed to the deal – then finish your presentation early and sign the contract.

When you know where you are going you will avoid the tangents and diversions that often destroy presentations. When you begin with the end in mind you will waste less time and be more effective. Use the advice of Stephen Covey – Begin with the end in mind.