Knowing Is Not Enough: 3 Components of a Successful Presentation

This past weekend I had the opportunity to attend the first annual EVOLVE Symposium. This event was held at the University of Florida and was focused on the students and university staff that will likely determine the direction of the fitness industry in the years to come. The event was planned very well and many of the presentations were given by students, to students. I was fortunate to attend many student-delivered sessions as well present two sessions myself, and it got me to thinking about what components make up a great presentation. Keep in mind that I use the word “presentation” loosely because it is merely a transference of knowledge. Therefore, it could apply to simply speaking one on one with a colleague or client or a group of individuals.

Regardless of situation, I believe there are 3 components to a successful transference of knowledge:

1) Information
This component is the most obvious. What are you trying to teach or educate others on? It is important to do your “due diligence” on this one. Make sure your information is quality and you know it through and through. References are important so you can establish credibility to your information as well as yourself. You should also have a pretty good understanding of your audience so you can streamline the info and integrate the next component.

2) Inspiration
Inspiration is all about evoking action. Your goal in sharing knowledge is to engage your audience. This can be done by tying the benefits of your information to those you are sharing it with. If you are working with a client, explain to them how the knowledge that you are sharing will help them reach their goals faster. If you are presenting to colleagues, show them how this new information will benefit them by getting them more clients, making them more money, or saving them time. Get them excited about what you are teaching them, and then give them the final component.

3) Application or Call to Action
This is where most presentations fall down. They give lots of quality information, they get you excited, they may even give you a demonstration, and then……they wrap up without ever teaching you how to apply the material. What a bummer.

Don’t let this happen to your presentation. The simple way to remedy this problem is to give examples of situations your audience might face and how your new information can be implemented. This is what people want, solutions to their problems or new options to at least give them new direction. You want your audience to be able to take your information and be able to put it into action immediately. Remember, knowing is not enough, we must be able to APPLY. If you can deliver, the value of your presentation will increase ten-fold.

*If you found this information helpful, keep your eyes peeled for an upcoming video series I will be releasing with Adrienne Harvey of We will be covering problems that fitness professionals and trainers run into on a regular basis and offering simple solutions to overcome them.