More Presentation Tips

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Carmine Gallo’s Talk Like TED (he also wrote The Presentation Secrets of Steve Jobs) reminded me to share with you some of the tips that both of us share with our clients. His book is in sync with our underlying ADAP principle of presentations – Audience-Driven, Authentic Presentations.

Great presentations are:

  • Emotional conversations. Many presenters think that the key is facts; while they are essential, influence takes place when the “heart†of the audience has been won. As a famous judge once noted, key decisions often are based on the emotions – how you feel about a situation and then rationalized by the “factsâ€. I recently coached a debate that had to defend a position; Rather than just share a lot of facts, I had the team translate many into case studies so the judges could identify with people and understand how economic development actually affects their lives. While the presenters actually had a weaker case, they won, because the stories touched the heart.
  • Informative – offering the audience something new. All too often presentations restate facts already known by the audience – which reduces their willingness to listen and absorb. The key is to provide valuable new information consistent with t he decision you want the listener to make. Related to this is the passion of the speaker. Passion energizes the speaker to make a succinct, focused presentation because he/she wants to talk about the things that are most important to the audience (informative). At the same time, an emotional conversation is taking place because the listener pick up on the passion and unconsciously rates the material as probably being much more important.
  • Memorable – presenting content in ways that are so interesting that I’ll want to share it with others.  Too many presenters think that the more information they present, the more likely that “something will stickâ€; just the opposite: less is more. TED talks are only 18 minutes in length. I know of another organization that limits the presentation to 10 minutes! Reducing the presentation to such strict time limits means that the presenter has to think through a WINning (What’s Important Now) formula,  leave out what’s not critical to the decision, and present it so the person can retell the “story†to others whose support is needed to make the decision.  Most people recall the stories they heard as children, because they weave together facts, emotions and audience interest in hearing the resolution.

If you’re not a great story teller, work on that skill the next time you have a presentation to deliver. Stories paint pictures which allow you to visualize the situation. The best business presentations and the best TED Talks keep bullet points, text and graphs to a minimum, and instead focus on capturing attention with a visual picture which forces the person to link the important facts to it in order to remember it.  Think of a spiral staircase. To do so, you bring lots of facts concerning the staircase to bear (e.g., height, width, composition, internal vs. external, etc.). Remembering the picture will be a lot easier than remembering all the individual features


If you have any questions about presentations, share them with us, and we’ll address then in our next “tips†blog