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From an expert: prepping policy presentations

Making and delivering presentations is a necessary activity throughout business, advocacy, and policymaking. While there are commonalities across industries for how a presentation deck is put together, there are unique considerations for presentations focused on policy issues.

Alistair Taylor, our Director of Strategic Content and Presentations, recently sat down and offered some of his thoughts on the most prominent considerations to make when building a presentation deck on a policy issue.

His first tip (Know your audience) might sound familiar. Both Alistair and Cliff Johnson, our Membership Practice Leader, mentioned this as an important rule for producing quality webinars.

Next, Alistair described the importance of valid and reliable data. Especially amidst the concerns over fake news and ‘alt facts’ it’s imperative to establish your foundational information as accurate, from a reliable source, and trustworthy. Spend the time to identify and pull data from impartial and credible sources, such as the Congressional Budget Office or the Congressional Research Service from the Library of Congress.

Alistair said that a mix of visual elements (such as images, icons, graphs, etc.) and text is best to strike a balance that not only informs the audience, but also compels them to remember key points and take action.

Consider adding a key takeaway, or main point, at the top of each slide or at the beginning of larger sections within your presentation. This will help deliver the ‘meat’ of your message more quickly, and keep it from getting buried in the details of the supporting text and graphics. You and your audience can dig into the details if necessary, but the key takeaway will make it easier for the audience to understand what you want them to understand.

A great way to ensure that your message is well-structured, understandable, and compelling is to develop an outline of your presentation before you dive into creating the actual content. Sketching or writing out a roadmap can help you identify an overarching narrative for your presentation. This type of approach can aid in placing certain facts or messages appropriately for the desired impact. It also maintains a more deliberate progression of the information you present.

Watch the video below to hear Alistair’s tips, and to learn a bit more about the expertise of our Presentation Center team.