“Dear NSA, you can do whatever with my data. But not with my eyes. Those slides are hideous.”
Here is a makeover of a dreadful slide deck.
The US Marines use the Five Paragraph Order to communicate verbal battle orders with an acronym SMEAC.
For more information see wikipedia
I’ve also used it a lot for non-military planning and I believe we can improve our presentations by using it as a guide. The last three points of the acronym are fairly straightforward and a lot has been written about them, but not so much on the first two.
The military analyses the enemy forces and our own. When you are giving a presentation to make a sale or to convince a person or a group to take a course of action, do you analyse those people? For instance:
So before you’ve even looked at the structure of your presentation, you need you analyse your audience in detail.
The mission or aim is an short unambiguous statement of what you wish to achieve, and answers the questions “Who, What, Where, When, and Why”. For example:
“To convince the Board to allocate $5 million for development of new markets in Asia to increase profits by 4%”.
Before you commit to the aim, you need to test it as follows:
If the answer is negative to any of these questions, review your aim.
I was first alerted to this myth by Rolene Liebenberg and found the video on Lisa Braithwaite’s excellent site Speak Shmeak. Trainers, especially presentation trainers keep pushing the myth that only 7% of meaning comes from the words we use and quote Albert Mehrabian as the scientific source. He never said this and the video explains what he really meant.