Before you even begin to design your presentation, stop. Most people, when they find they’ve got to make a presentation, simply fire up their laptop and dive right in. There’s a better way. With thanks to Lydia Bates at ‘What she Said‘, let’s introduce you to the PARC model.
This tight little acronym puts you in the right frame of mind for designing your presentation and looking at the things you need to be clear about in your head before you start. PARC stands for Purpose; Audience; Resources; Content.
|The very first thing you need to know when you’re designing any presentation is – quite simply – what it is you’re trying to do, exactly.|
There are some statistics that say about 80 to 85% of communication fails in some way, and our experience is that this is because presenters don’t know exactly what they’re trying to achieve. Hold onto this when you come to the Twitter exercise, very shortly!
||Once you’re clear on what you’re trying to achieve, the next step is to consider your audience. This might sound simple, but there’s an exercise on the next page to help you get it really into your head.|
|Resources split into three different things to think about.|
Tangible resources are things like computers, projectors, software. Screens, TVs and so on also count. As does the lighting in the room. For example, if you only have a projector and a screen in a room with no control over the lights, you need your slides to be very different from if you’ve got a huge plasma screen/TV.
Human resources are pretty obvious. Do you have people who you can split your presentation with? People who’ll help you set the room up if you want to have it differently arranged? What about someone to handle logistics, so that you can concentrate just on your content?
Intangible resources are things like your reputation. Are you already thought of as an expert in the area you’re talking about? Do your audience know you? Is there anyone in the likely audience who is hostile to you? (And if so, what can you do about it?) Can you increase your reputation by being introduced rather than just starting…?
||To be honest, this is where most people start – and that’s a mistake. Unless and until you’ve sorted out your PAR, then if your content hits the mark, it’s just luck!|
There’s a joke we tell at our live courses here (slightly rude – be warned!) that most people use the PARC acronym backwards, and consequently get something very, very different.