Great Presenters Do a SWOT Analysis

In their youth, most professionals attempt to learn as much as they can about as much as they can. It’s the Jack of All Trades approach, and probably not a bad thing. Early on in your career, you just want security and opportunity. You’ll do whatever it takes.

But this perspective can form a habit, and often more established professionals go through a period of time when they desperately need to focus on a smaller set of capabilities and develop management capabilities to direct teams to get work done.

Presenters can take special note of this phenomenon because the typical presentation actually combines a mixture of broad depth (design/content capabilities, business strategy, salesmanship and experience) and narrow focus. The narrow focus is usually the subject matter expertise.

To improve their overall presentation skills and maximize impact, great presenters often conduct what we call a SWOT analysis: Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats. They take inventory of all possibilities in each area, and then they act on it. Here’s how:

Strengths: Take these on yourself. Spend 80% of your time focused on things you’re naturally good at.
Weaknesses: Delegate and outsource these. You’ll spend more time doing them, and reap a far lesser reward in the end. Whatever it costs, pay someone else to do them for you.
Opportunities: Take stock of every potential positive outcome. What can you do with your message to make the most desirable outcomes occur?
Threats: Usually easily handled if they are foreseen, threats are little more than a bump in the road for those who plan ahead. Anticipate all the likely outcomes and prepare in advance to overcome them.

In a nutshell, this is a very concise path to delivering solid, stress-free presentations. If you conduct a thorough SWOT analysis before every pitch, you’ll be in a much better position to succeed.

Question: What would this kind of preparation do for your next presentation?

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