An NLP way to decide where you’re going

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One great thing about NLP is how it enables us to be surgically precise in analysing a situation in order to improve it.

For example, let’s say you’re planning to make a presentation. The first question to ask yourself is WHY?

  • Why do it?
  • Why give that talk?
  • Why make that presentation?
  • Why stand up in front of a group of people and tell them things?

At first the answer seems obvious:

I’m doing it because a friend asked me to speak on this topic to this social group

My boss said I had to do this presentation

It’s part of my role to speak to these people.

Now each of these may be involved in your decision.

However, at first glance, answering these questions doesn’t offer much insight into how to make a better presentation!

But what is your purpose?

Now with NLP we can drill deeper and consider:

What results do I want to get from making the presentation?

This directs your attention towards what you want to have happen as a result of your talk.

This important because unless you are very clear about your objective there is a real risk that your presentation will ramble, be boring or confusing to the audience, or simply come across as pointless (point-less) and, at the end, will simply fade into a weak and meaningless Well, thank you for listening to me.

Having a clear objective for the talk is something which really experienced presenters decide even before they begin designing their talk. They consider What I want this audience to understand or feel or do at the end?

Do this with your own presentations and it’s pretty likely your presentations will change – because answer begins the design for your presentation – and even influences your style of delivery. From this point everything then focuses your attention on making your presentation achieve this objective.

What do you want them to do?

Getting beyond what you want to what you want them to do requires a change in mind-set for many people e.g.

Me: Why are you going to make this presentation?
Other person: To give them this information about our new process.
Me: What you want them to do as a result of having that information?
Other person: Well, I just want them to know it? That’s what I’ve been told to do – inform them
Me: What will be your “call to action” at the end of presentation?
Other person: Well, none really – it’s just about giving them information, isn’t it?

It should never just about giving information. It should be about action. You have given of your own valuable time. You have taken up their valuable time. Both parties are making an investment – and there should be a return on this investment – for both parties.

Start from the end and work backwards

Your starting point in designing a presentation is to decide what do you want your audience to do at the end of it?

Do you want them to

  • Be impressed with you?
  • Ask for more information about something?
  • Buy something?
  • Sign up for something?
  • Stop doing things?
  • Start doing things differently?
  • Feel better about doing things?
  • Get others to behave in a different way?
  • Tell others about something?

… the list can go on and on. The important thing is to be crystal clear on what you want to have happen at the end of your presentation? On the one key thing you want them to do.

Now motivate them to do this

It’s less easy to identify this key action point that it might appear. And this is often because we’re caught up in thinking about us – in what we want to feel, say or do. But once we begin thinking about them things change, now we can focus on their WIIFMs (what’s in it for me) – on what they want to get out of the presentation.

Now you can begin designing your presentation so that you dovetail both sets of wants: what they want from it and what you want them to do as a result of it.

Remember, if you’re not very clear on your objective for the talk your audience won’t be clear about it, either.

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