You’ve done the data analysis, you’ve had a research breakthrough—now it’s time to share your knowledge with your colleagues.  Ask yourself these 5 questions to prepare a business presentation that delivers:

1. What’s the purpose of my presentation?

If you don’t know why you’re speaking, you won’t be able to land your message. Work on clearly defining your goals before you start gathering content for your presentation. Once you have your “why,” it’ll be easier to find the content you need to help you accomplish your goals. It will also help keep your presentation focused. Below are five examples of clear purposes for a business presentation:

    • Convince the marketing team to switch from one CRM to another CRM in order to reduce costs
    • Train new hires so they understand the benefits they’re entitled to
    • Educate employees on the latest industry-specific regulations
    • Present  critical data to the sales team that they will need to close deals in the next six months
    • Deliver the results of Q1’s marketing campaign to the CMO

2. Do I have five or fewer big ideas I’m going to share?

Most people don’t remember more than five big ideas/concepts from a presentation. If you have more than five ideas,  condense them or cut out the information that doesn’t help you achieve your goals. Each idea needs to contribute to the main purpose you are presenting. According to one study, most people can only clearly recall the beginning and end of a presentation two days after the fact. Structure your presentation with the most important ideas at the beginning and end. This strategy will help your audience easily recall the most important items you are sharing with them.

3. Will the flow of my presentation keep my audience engaged?

It’s easy to lose your audience when you are speaking for 20 minutes. Try to break up your presentation into segments. You can even share a short video when transitioning from one idea to another. Engaging videos that contribute to your main idea can grab your audience’s attention visually. Another way to keep people engaged is to hold a short (2-4 minute) Q&A session in the middle of your presentation. Q&A sessions can encourage your colleagues to participate and give you valuable insight.

4. Do I have a story/example I can share with each big idea?

Stories are an effective way to empower your audience and gain their trust. We give our audience a chance to connect with us when we share our experiences and insight. With each big idea you present, tell a story or give a real-life example to help your audience understand how the information applies to them. You could talk about how someone from HR handled a workplace argument using the tactics you’ve introduced. You could share how a junior manager saved the company $2M in one year using the systems and processes you’re sharing. If you’re not sure which stories would be the most effective, discuss them with a few of your co-workers ahead of time to get feedback. Real discussions will help you understand which examples are going to be effective before you even step in front of the conference table.

5. Do I have a call-to-action?

A call-to-action (CTA) encourages the people you’re addressing to take action. What do you want your audience to do after listening to your presentation? If people have a clear idea of what to do with the information you’ve given them, you’ll be able to drive change. Your CTA needs to be clear and invite the audience to act and move forward. Here are some examples of effective CTAs:

    • Implement item #1 this week to reduce workplace accidents
    • Talk to your manager today about your new insurance benefits
    • Try using idea #3 this month in your team brainstorming sessions

Take time to prepare for your presentation so that you can confidently answer each of the questions above. It’ll give you the peace of mind that you’re delivering your best information in the most effective way. Your audience will be able to remember what you said and you’ll be able to accomplish your goals.