What’s the secret to professional, polished and persuasive presentations? As there are never enough hours in the day, it’s essential to have a specific plan to upgrade your presentation in minutes. Find out how right now.

No time to lose? Big sales presentation this afternoon? If you’re under the gun for your next big presentation, use this fast upgrade to be ready for anything—instantly.

Last week I coached ‘Mary,’ a busy professor. She was trying to get ready for an important conference…and was seriously in need of presentation upgrade. Naturally, she also had 16 other urgent appointments. So, we rolled up our sleeves and dove in.

If you’re feeling like there’s not enough time to make a difference, think again. These quick changes will spruce up tired presentations—and you’ll come out a winner.

Here’s the 5-steps we used. Try them out right away if you have a presentation looming on the calendar.

Step 1. Start With Your Conclusion
Kind of counter-intuitive, right? Wrong. You’re the tour guide and your audience wants to know where you’re taking them. Set clear expectations at the start.

Of course, skip all the gory details. Just give a high-level ‘here’s where we’re going’ to let people know what’s ahead. Just like when you get on a plane, the pilot or flight attendant announces, “this plane is heading to San Francisco.” Do the same for your audience.

This sounds like a simple, no-brainer thing to do. But you’d be shocked how many professionals skip this step.

Why it matters: set clear expectations and you’ll win attention.

Step 2. Frame Your Message
Speaking to clients in the food industry? Use a menu to frame your message. Speaking about sales? Talk in terms of sales cycles, pipeline and speed. Talking in your client’s language helps people understand what you’re saying—and appreciate the value.

Why it matters: don’t make people think. Take the extra step to put your data, statistics and insights into a message that is easy for your clients to ‘grok.’

Step 3. Simplify With A Story
Organize your information in a story. It’s the fastest way to make an instant improvement to your presentation. Stories are emotional, engaging and very easy to remember.

Why it matters: your audience is already chock full of information. Pierce the veil with a lively story. Hint: make your story easy to understand and easy to retell.

Step 4. Think On Your Feet
Transform a dull presentation into a dynamic one. How? Ask questions. Answer questions. Get your audience involved and interacting. Many presenters avoid impromptu participation because they consider it risky. Not you. Guide ad hoc discussion and stay fluid.

Why it matters: your audience is paying attention to how you communicate. When you’re agile and flexible, it says a lot about your company, your offer and your brand. Interaction is the key to successful business communication.

Step 5. Focus On A Single Easy Action
As hard as this is, resist the temptation to give a fan-deck of options. Focus on one action. The very next step. This helps overloaded audiences know exactly what to do. The end of your presentation is a time to guide and give clear directions.

Why it matters: people appreciate knowing what to do next. Remember your beginning? You started with the end in mind. Now it’s time to help people take the next step.

I bet you’re wondering about Mary, the busy professor. She used these 5 steps and was thrilled. She went from a dizzy swirl of ideas to a clear, concise presentation. Her audience loved it. Your audience will too.

Author's Bio: 

Milly Sonneman is a recognized expert in visual language. She is the co-director of Presentation Storyboarding, a leading presentation training firm, and author of the popular guides: Beyond Words and Rainmaker Stories available on Amazon. Milly helps business professionals give winning presentations, through Email Marketing skills trainings at Presentation Storyboarding. You can find out more about our courses or contact Milly through our website at: http://www.presentationstoryboarding.com/