Presenting – The 4 Legged Stool

There are four very simple subjects to presenting. They can be captured as follows:

1)      Telling your Story

2)      Making your Case

3)      Bringing your case Alive

4)      Supporting your case

Each of these components of presenting is the subject of our next four blogs.

We will start with Telling your Story.

There are 8 essential ingredients to storytelling. Each has an integral role in the development of a story. They are given here in no particular order.

1) Single focus.

Here you ensure you have a single focus with your story – the one thing the audience will take away. Repeat it often. Represent it often. Importantly, make it relevant to whomever you are talking to.

In a broad-based presentation you would look at today being about the economy. In the 80’s it was growth. In the 30’s you’d reference survival.

2) Surprise and Unexpected focus.

If giving a speech on Talent Management, you instead refer to the Year 2004 as a pivotal theme  – The Global Sociological watershed in Social Networking where Google, Facebook, Orkut and 5 others broke onto the scene and today account for 1.4 Billion users online or 56% of all global online users. You then tie back how talent today has, in less than 9 years, needed to change how they communicate, think and work.

3) Trivia.

That creates awe, surprise and inspires understanding.

In a speech on leadership and image, the fact that Don Draper – the protagonist in the Mad Men TV series, a fictitious character, was ranked the world’s most influential man in the world (2009) – as per AskMen the #1 men’s lifestyle magazine, over the living.

4) Building relationships between #’s and real events and things.

In a presentation on advertising on social networking sites, the fact that the top 8 social networking sites have the same number of users as the combined total population of 8 America’s.

5) Progressive thought through time – where each links to the other in some way.

In a speech on the importance of social change and those who have created it. The fact that the Big 4’s – 4000BC (first known civilization emerges), 1400BC (Phoenicians develop the first alphabet), 4AD (Birth of Christ) and 2004 (8 of the top 24 social sites enter the market, today capturing 56% of the total user base)

6) Proof of Claim.

Every time a claim is made, evidence is used to support it. Third party evidence is more powerful than personalized evidence. Friend tells you how they lost 25 lbs. vs. the company selling the product telling you.

7) Anecdotes, Examples, Quotes and Analogies.

Liberally use one or more of these tools throughout your presentation or speech.

Ensure however, once used, you do not make the classic mistake of then explaining the point further. One of the beauties of these tools is that they make the point and so, no more needs be said, oftentimes reducing the length of your talk considerably.

8) Emotional conclusions.

Using Steve Job’s narrated version of Think Different – “The Crazy Ones” commercial, which never aired, (they chose to use the Dryfus narrated version) to conclude a presentation on Innovation.

In the End:

Make sure you do not mistakenly use “story” telling as an excuse to becoming verbose.

Instead first think pithy then weave your relevant connections embellishing upon your single focused story line.

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