The fastest path to an epic presentation

Jun 21, 2021

Want to fix your talk in fewer than 30 minutes? Do just these five things.

You present far more often than you think.

Every time you pitch an idea on where to go for dinner, you’re making a presentation.

Every time you hold a quick huddle with your boss to share numbers/analytics/research, you’re making a presentation.

Every time you get onto a Zoom call where you contribute to a conversation, you’re making a presentation.

Not every presentation is a TED Talk in front of 1000 people. Most are simple conversations between two people, where one of those people wants to make an impact on the other’s mindset, behaviour or actions.

With that in mind, you might not have the time to perform a bunch of research, write a blueprint and rehearse, rehearse, rehearse. Instead, you need a no huddle, rapid response set of tools you can use whenever you want to hold that effective conversation. The good news is that the process I use for those TED Talks applies to your next chat. You just have to pick one specific tool from each step.

Step One – Know what you want
What do you want to change as a result of your pitch/presentation/conversation? Zero in on the specific thing that you want and start thinking about how you can use the information you have to share that story.

Step Two – Know what moves them.
Now, take that information and flip it so that it becomes meaningful, relevant and value to your audience. Why is your audience listening to you in the first place? What can you say that will persuade them of your perspective?

Step Three – Develop and deliver as 3-4 headlines.
You know what you want. You know what moves them. Not look at your content and distill it down to 3-4 headlines. In a world of cognitive overload, your audience can only remember so much. I always recommend having a central Point, and Chapters that support the Point. You express each of these items as a context laden headline full of active and memorable language. For my money, if I could make one change to any communication, it’d be to get communicators to use more effective headlines.

Step Four – Help them “see” with one good story.
Audiences get bored really quickly if you avalanche them with uncontextualized information. Here’s the fastest way around that – get your audience to visualize what you’re trying to say. If they can “see” it through storytelling and interesting language, they can make an emotional connection. That gets you closer to your goal of having something change.

Step Five – Rehearse your first 30 seconds.
Be sharp out of the gate. Lose the “good mornings” and throat clearing, and replace it with elements that are valuable. Sound confident, bring context and connect with your audience quickly.

Five steps you can do in your head to make your next play for sushi (or a budget increase) effective.