What is the two-sentence takeaway for your presentation?
September 17, 2018
There is a common experience people face – you hear someone tell a long story, or say you are in a meeting and someone is on a long rant – and the minute it ends you have just one reaction. “So?”
It’s that moment of bewilderment where your mind scrambles to understand the point of what was just said. Was it humour? Was it a good story? Was it just information? These instances are easy to recover from and overlook in social situations, but when it happens to your audience during a presentation, it can be more damaging.
Therefore it is important to be aware of your takeaway, the nugget of what you want the audience to understand, before you deliver the presentation. This nugget should be short, succinct and easy to remember for your presentation to be effective.
In order to decide on your takeaway, one has to remove the fluff and just focus on the need-to-know part of your information. Think deeply about what you are trying to communicate. Ask people to hear your matter and try to guess what the point may be – chances are your audience will do the same. Ask people what they learnt from your matter, ask them to write two sentence takeaways for your matter and see if it matches with what you intended. All these are good exercises to find your takeaway.
The process by which you decide what your takeaway is, is an important one and shouldn’t be overlooked. One way to do this is to ask yourself – if I was to condense this presentation into one line, what would that line be? Oftentimes we feel like our information is too dense and complicated to fit into two sentences – but that is a folly. Becasuse if you yourself cannot create a two-sentence takeaway, how will anyone else? No matter should be too dense for a takeaway.
How do you communicate this takeaway? You can put it straight in your presentation in bold font, in a slide for itself or add it within the conclusion. As far as delivering a takeaway, the important thing to remember is repetition. Make your point, say it again, and then repeat what you said back to them during the course of the talk. Don’t let them walk away without being completely clear about the presentation’s goal.
It is important to have a takeaway for every story, presentation or lecture – whether intended or unintended. It is what makes or breaks the learning experience for the audience.