Training Series #5 – Content Development

Are You Flying Solo OR,

Are You on a Panel or Part of a Team Teaching Group?

business people share contentContent development will change no matter which you are. If you were the only one speaking about a topic, you could do/say pretty much whatever you want. However, if you are part of a panel, each person may want to cover a different aspect of or perspective about the subject. There also could be times when such differences become confrontational.

At other times, everyone is working toward influencing the audience in the same direction. It’s boring and you’ll lose your audience’s attention if people are restating one another’s points.

So, what’s a speaker to do?

Make Inquiries About Co-Hosts and Panelists Before You Tackle Content Development

Sherlock Holmes + magnifying glass asking questions about speakers' content

gold question mark

  • In what areas of the presentation topic are you likely to agree and to disagree with each panelist?
  • What data can you use to back up your assertions?
  • How are you going to ensure you get equal time?
  • What are your primary points that must be stated (even when or especially) when a different panelist is hogging the stage and taking too much time?
  • How will you counter points, objections, and humorous digs directed at you?

Who is Your Audience?

Written, Oral, or Video Content Development

All of the Above?

Might You Also Publish Your Work Later?


Note: materials may have to be prepared and content stated differently for written versus verbal presentations…even if you’re presenting verbally and using written materials in the same class or speech.

hand holding pen while editing content on paperWritten materials tend to be composed more formally, and that language may sound stilted or unnatural when one is talking to a group.

  • Be sure to read or give your presentation aloud before the event.  You may be amazed by the difficulty associated with long sentences, pronunciation, and confusing content structure.
  • Practicing at least once gives you the opportunity to fix glitches and feel more comfortable when you are conducting the live sessions.
  • Also, some software will read the text aloud, so you can hear what it might sound like. You can listen while simultaneously looking for typos, stilted phrases, and other things you’d like to change before finalizing the content.

One Presentation BUT ~

Different Goals for Differing Recipients ~

Effects on Content Development

You might be conducting employee training, but do you also have to give materials to upper management?

  • Would those presentations be identical?
  • Do you have to demonstrate your research to an upper-level manager or employer?
    • You might benefit from sharing complex data and information to managers.
    • Some of what you share with them may be proprietary and not for public consumption.
    • Perhaps you are including confidential or classified information with them.
  • The question then is whether that content is different from what you want to use as handouts or training manuals for your class participants. The answer depends on who is in the audience and who needs qualifications (like a security clearance or management status) to see the contents.

You might have to simultaneously create two different versions of the same program. Advance planning can save you a lot of time, grief, and embarrassment. But, hark! There’s more!

Do You Also Want to Publish It Later?
(As a Book, a Thesis, a White Paper?)

smart phone, typewriter, and camera for content creation

figure sitting dazed with stars encircling headIf yes, then you will find yourself creating 3 or even 4 versions, some of which have accompanying images, notes, and materials which differ from the others. The requirements for documentation and references may vary widely for each of these kinds of presentations. The content may be much more formal when the document will be reviewed by academicians or peers than when you are delivering an overview to lay people.

yellow folders w magnifying glass searching for contentYou can’t easily create all these versions at one time – especially if you have a tight deadline. What you can do is to keep in mind the overall goals, and this should help you be organized in handling the contents of text, references, and images for your presentation.

Research These ATTRIBUTES in the Prospective Attendees.

research your audience. Pictured are male and female business people with hands raised to get attention

  • Special interest group
  • Age range
  • Ethnicity
  • Educational background
  • Knowledge of current technology
  • Professionals in the field of your topic or in some related field
  • Lay people (not professionals in the field)
  • Knowledge of “jargon” or anachronisms with respect to your subject
  • What mixtures of the above or other categories will there be?

Participant Attitude Toward You and Course or Speech Content

Question marks + Smiley face making up its mind about what to think.

What You Think of Me Is None of My Business, Except When I am a Presenter

gold question mark

Ask Questions!

What is their probable attitude toward you and/or your point of view?

  • Positive?
  • They’ll be unsure of what to think?
  • Negative?
  • Regardless of whether you consider this in terms of salesmanship, you need to anticipate the listener’s emotional or logical objections and build your answers into the presentation, whenever possible before you are presented with the concern.
    • This is especially true because most people won’t challenge you aloud if they disagree, misunderstand, or don’t know what you mean. They’ll just discount or be unable to process much of whatever you say thereafter.
    • This also is true when people are required to, but resistant to, learning new things, such as in job re-training.
  • Why (ask why in each category).

Copies, Copyrights, Formats and Planned Stinginess in Content Development

In addition to speaking, will you have to provide written or media (like PowerPointPreziwavJpeg, or other) kinds of copies of your presentation? Be sure to actually read the “fine print” for terms of use. Many sites advertise having free photos, for example. However, when you choose them, you find there is a licensing fee, or – importantly – they may NOT be used for commercial purposes. That means you do not have permission to put those images on anything you sell.


Because that restriction on commercial use is widespread, I find it simplest to use for photos. You may use almost all of that content without restriction and without adding credits lines. (The truth is, I usually give credit, regardless.) They have some great food photographers! I use many of their food and drink pics to create the infographics I use to announce meal or refreshment breaks.

coffee break coffee and croissantsIn addition, they have other images that work beautifully for in-person and for online meetings, like this one. I used the images they supplied and compiled them into a series of infographics on PowerPoint for a women’s group that meets on Zoom.

business infographics - Welcome to the Waiting Room

Presenter Media

figure and thought bubble give speeches conduct workshop - contentFor images, such as you’re seeing on the this page, PresenterMedia has lots of templates and animations to use by subscription, but it is only one of many choices.)

It’s worth spending a little time to research the options to find the style, subject matter, terms and conditions for your presentation. I do projects that are “elegant,” others that are “plain-speaking,” others that are high tech, and each of them requires a different voice and look.

  • If you have to create different versions of a presentation for different recipients, consider in advance whether the materials will be identical in all formats, or you will withhold some content, based on proprietary or copyright concerns.
  • Consider also whether you want the content to be identical but preservable in various extension formats (.docx, .pptx, .wav, .jpeg, etc.).
    • If possible, create the content in a format that can be saved using various other extensions, so that you may do all the work at one time, rather than having to create material in differing formats for different usages.
    • For example, a PowerPoint presentation also can be saved as JPEG images for each individual slide, or as a PDF, among many other options. In addition, you can save the presentation in “Outline” format, and that outline can become your handouts.

Topic Selection Within the Subject Matter

stick_figure_writing words:_goals: vision, purpose, goals

  • How many people are expected to attend? (This also affects whether you will plan breakout sessions and other activities.)
  • What topics are appropriate for the occasion?  Why?
  • Given the choices with the specific subject matter, which topics or perspectives interest you and would be of most interest to your listeners? (If you’re disinterested, it is likely that your audience will find that contagious.)
  • Below are some items which will help you “flesh out” and give credibility to your presentation.

green numeral 3 on black buttonStep Three: What More Research & Materials Are Needed for Content Development?

books and a computer for researching training content and answering questions

Reminder: Ensure You Abide by Copyrights and Patents When in the Content Development Stage

Look for Relevant:

red letters on white keyboard say "Search"

  • Background information
    • Charts
    • Comparisons
    • Definitions
    • Descriptions
    • Developments (Recent or historic)
  • Evidence, Facts, Examples, Statistics
    • You can put some of this information into charts or graphs for visual learners.
    • These are things that can demonstrate the truth of your statements without the audience knowing or agreeing with the conclusions you will draw.
  • Graphics
  • Photos
  • Humor
  • Music
  • Opposing opinions, beliefs, arguments, values, and policies if applicable.
  • Perspectives
  • Policies
  • Quotes
  • Statements
  • Trends
  • Videos

Is There MORE to Know About Content Development!

Yes! In case you missed the previous articles on things one should consider BEFORE content development, here are the links. I plan to combine all these and more into one veddy looooonnnngggg PDF file to distribute free to those of you who sign up on this website. (Typically, I post articles here only monthly, so you’ll not be inundated with emails if you join my list.) I also might publish these articles and more in 2021 as a guidebook for presenters and trainers. Let me know if you’re interested in getting a copy.

Training Series #4 – More Research & Tips for Timing Presentations | My Persuasive Presentations, LLC

Training Series #3 – Amenities and Protocols to Consider Before Creating Content | My Persuasive Presentations, LLC

Training Series #2 – Evaluating Training Venues | My Persuasive Presentations, LLC

Training Series #1 – Construct Company Training Programs | My Persuasive Presentations, LLC

 Remember, you can do training, teach, and give presentations yourself, or you can outsource it. I create, edit, and review content, as well as providing classes, training, and speeches. How may I help you?

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I hope you found the discussion of presentation content interesting, and I’d be happy to answer any questions. Email me at, and please put “Presentation Content Inquiry” into the subject line. Thank you and best wishes for success in your event!

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