Every speech or presentation should have an objective, something that keeps the entire thing on track. Without it, an audience is treated to a rambling, incoherent string of thoughts or, worse yet in a financial seminar, an information dump – numbers and facts thrown about like colors in an abstract painting. Knowing the presentation’s objective allows the presenter to pick facts and figures relevant to the desired outcome. From there, it’s easier to fashion the rest. What is “the rest?” Well, like English teachers always preach: introduction, body, conclusion.

  • Introduction. The introduction needs to include some sort of ice breaker. That could be observations of current events tied to the presentation’s main point, a couple of questions that will be answered during the session or an anecdote using the experience of an audience member.
  • Body. The meat of the presentation. Stephanie Scotti, owner of New Jersey-based Professionally Speaking, says the body is the schematic. The information should be chunked into three to five main points – any more and the audience drifts away. This is where the moderate use of technology comes into play, such as PowerPoint slides of relevant information, not the verbatim presentation in lights.
  • Conclusion. Wrap it up and give a call to action, which likely will be an appointment with the advisor. Scotti calls the conclusion the “Haymaker;” a last chance to hit the audience with something memorable.
  • Question-and-answer period. Get the audience involved with some Q&A. Stay in control – deflecting “inappropriate” questions until after the seminar – and invoke and enforce a time limit. But, says Quentin Steele, owner of California-based Quentin Steele Communications, advisors would be wise never to end on the Q&A session. “Take control and reinforce the main message with another conclusion.”
  • Second conclusion. Quick and simple. It puts control back in the advisor’s hands and provides an opportunity to repeat the call to action, something all three experts in this story agree is vital to a solid presentation.