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Six Sigma Presentations: On Target with Minimum Variation

Six Sigma presentations are something every level of practitioner – Green Belt, Black Belt, Master Black Belt, Champion and even deployment leader – must do. However, many presenters face their initial efforts with a great deal to say but without a great deal of experience in saying it. As you prepare your first presentation or two, you are told it is your responsibility that the audience gets the message. The pressure mounts when you are reminded that everything depends on the content of your presentation and the way you present it. The audience will reach the correct conclusions only through your presentation.

So what is a novice presenter to do? In a single word: Practice.

Moreover, the quality of that practice will likely determine the quality of your presentation. Practicing “in your head,” while looking at slides, will be quick and may seem ok, but it is not nearly as good as practicing out loud. Unless you practice aloud you will not “feel” potentially awkward transitions as you move to each new slide. Nor will you “hear” the gaps in your presentation as, for example, when you explain why there is a lower boundary and not a lower specification limit. When you practice aloud, you can actually feel and hear those things.

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And while practicing aloud by yourself is a step up, it is better by far to practice aloud in front of an audience. Indeed, if you plan to make an excellent presentation, it is essential to practice with someone or a small group who will provide feedback. Those same transitions and gaps you might feel or hear are even easier for an audience to spot. Plus, an observer can see and hear even more. Practicing in front of an audience can tell you – actually, tell the audience:

  • What points are, for whatever reason, just not coming through.
  • What questions are going unanswered.
  • What distractions to your presentation are there.
  • What aspects of your presentation style can be improved.
  • What you do not even know to ask.
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Practicing a complete run-through in front of an audience also is the best way to make sure the presentation fits the allocated time – whether it is a presentation to a project team, a presentation to process owners, intermediate tollgates or the final tollgate.

As Vince Lombardi, the legendary Green Bay Packers football coach, said, “Perfect practice makes perfect.” To that end, below is an Effective Six Sigma Presentation Feedback Form. It is an aid for members of a practice audience to structure their feedback to you about your presentation. You want to be on target with minimum variation, right?

Effective Six Sigma Presentation Feedback Form
Categories for Audience Evaluation

Doing All Right

Need to Do Better

Preparation  
1. Presenter seemed familiar with equipment  
2. All equipment and setup no surprise to presenter  
3. Presenter appeared to be practiced  
Introduction  
1. Started with problem statement, Y and goal  
2. Made process of presentation clear (contracted with audience for content, time, participation)  
Body  
1. Used operational definitions appropriately  
2. Used supporting points and illustrations which were interesting, varied and directly related  
3. Presentation detail appropriate for audience  
4. Flow of presentation was logical  
5. Used transitions and repetition appropriately  
Conclusion  
1. Solution selection included cost/benefit  
2. Implementation and Control plan explained  
3. Next steps included  
Questions/Answers  
1. Presenter encouraged questions from audience  
2. Answers were concise  
3. Answers directly related to question  
Charts and Visual Aids  
1. Aids suited to project and audience  
2. Aids visible to everyone and easily understood  
3. Charts had finding boxes  
4. Charts explained, including defining X and Y axes, N, etc.  
5. Did not spend too much time on one slide  
6. If drawing on flip or whiteboard, presenter did not obscure the image  
Voice   
1. Spoke clearly – did not sound nervous  
2. Used voice to provide appropriate emphasize  
3. Used conversational tone  
4. Projected so words were easily heard  
5. Spoke at an appropriate rate (not too fast or too slow)  
6. Avoided colloquial expressions and technical jargon which might not be understood by the audience  
7. Did not use fillers – “ah,” “um,” “ok,” “basically”  
Eye Contact  
1. Focused on all members of the audience  
2. Looked at audience – not away or at screen or flipchart  
Hands  
1. Used hands naturally – not clenched, stuffed in pockets, etc.  
2. Avoided distracting actions (e.g., jingling change in pocket or playing with pointer)  
3. Used appropriate gestures for emphasis  
Body and Image  
1. Appeared sincere, confident and competent  
2. Looked interested in the project  
3. Moved around comfortably – not glued to one spot or moving in a distracting fashion  
4. Used good posture  
5. Used appropriate body language for emphasis  
Control / Concern  
1. Presenter controlled self, equipment and audience participation  
2. Concern for quality and audience understanding was evident (defined terms, asked for questions, etc.)  
Other Comments
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