Monday, April 28, 2008

PLI Presentation Tip Post

Click over to the Personal Leadership Insight blog for a quick post on how to improve your next presentation...

Friday, April 25, 2008

Developing Your Presentation's Flow

Authenticity Rule #5 is Know Your Flow.

How do you decide how your presentation is going to flow? What is your presentation going to be about, what goes into the outline, and what comes first, second, third, etc.? Here is a simple strategy I have used roughly 2,250 times (I have given over 150 presentations every year for 15 years.)

1. Begin by asking, "What is at the core of my presentation?" Your answer should be the most important concept, idea, or learning lesson you want the audience to walk away with. It should be simple, clear and meaningful. Everything in your presentation should make your core stronger, clearer to understand, and/or easier to remember/implement.

2. Detail out the presentation logistics: number of people, presentation length, room set-up, audience ages/backgrounds/reasons for being there/expectations/etc., AV tools at your disposal, and organization makeup/history/challenges/etc.

3. Brainstorm a long list of options to support your core and that will fit with the logistics. Your list will include stories, more points, quotes, visuals, pictures, props, activities, exercises, videos, handout pieces, facts, data, etc. This list should be intentionally long. Everything won't make it into the presentation, but you need to get all your options in front of you.

4. Now you are ready to start putting together your flow (i.e. - your outline). This is simply an exercise in pulling elements out of your options list and moving them into your outline based on these characteristics: powerful, fresh, creative, deep in meaning, easy to understand, authentic to you and your story/experience/expertise, and connects back to your core (point #1.) Take into consideration the time elements and remember to plan on using only 80% of your allotted time. The cardinal sin for any presenter is going over time. This normal happens by trying to fit in too much information. Remember, less is more.

This strategy will work for short presentations (1-10 minutes), keynotes, workshops, breakout sessions, informational presentations, etc. Remember to save not only your final flow, but also your options list. We use Microsoft Outlook Exchange for our contacts/calendar/etc. and Blackberry devices. I save the final flows and the option lists in both the calendar notes for the events and the memo/notes feature. This allows me to be able to access both via my laptop and my Crackleberry and everything is backed up on both devices, as well as the Exchange server.

A future post will officially introduce to Authenticity Rule #5...

The 7-Iron Rule - Know Your Flow

You can only improve after you learn how a correct presentation flow feels.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

The PowerPoint Show

The images I use for my leadership PowerPoint show can be viewed and downloaded here...


PS - The song I use is by Mat Kearney - Won't Back Down.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Newest Version of the Rules

Well, the rules are constantly changing, evolving and (hopefully) improving. Check out the new pics and the new verbiage at...

Click on each image and the explanations will be at the bottom. Enjoy.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

A Big Genuine Thank You

The first round of interviews for my upcoming Authenticity Rules book is complete. This is a great big "thank you" to the 12 presentation experts who agreed to lend their time to add richness, depth and wisdom to the final product.

"Great presentations are real conversations."
Rowan Manahan - The Fortify Your Oasis Blog

"Authenticity is everything."
Ben Decker - Decker Communications

"People just don’t realize it’s ok to be yourself."
Lisa Braithwaite - The Speak Schmeak Blog

"A presenter’s aura on stage should just be an enhanced version of reality... a larger version because of the context."
Tom Antion - Antion & Associates

"There is something charming about speakers who aren’t polished, but are experts, passionate and experienced."
Jane Atkinson - The Speaker Launcher

"Being real starts with knowing who you are and how you can connect "you" with the audience."
Bill Cordes - The "YOGOWYPI" Guru

"Authentic communication is the most credible form of communication because it’s 100% genuine."
Norma Hollis - The Authenticity Expert

"Authentic presenters don’t just focus on logic. People aren’t moved by logic. They are moved by emotion."
John Windsor - The YOU Blog

"The audience wants to feel a connection to us personally."
Kevin Eikenberry - The Remarkable Leader

"A presenter must give the audience a reason to want to listen and then evidence to believe what they are saying."
Dr. Jeff Magee - Jeff Magee, International

"Authenticity is absolutely critical. It allows you to be more passionate, more prepared, and more memorable."
Andrew Dlugan - The Six Minutes Blog

"Add depth to your presentation that is directly connected to you and your unique path in this world – stories, opinions, work experiences, pictures, people, mentors, etc."
Phillip Van Hooser - Van Hooser Associates, Inc.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Indirect Can be More Powerful

Sometimes a more indirect approach in your presentations can be more powerful than the direct route. I started thinking about this principle after changing the audio set-up at my office's laptop station. The first image below shows how my computer speakers have always set - pointed straight towards me. Loud is loud. Soft is soft. Very direct and very much in my face.

This second image shows how they set now. They are turned away from me and angled. If you look close you can tell that my laptop station is in the corner of the room. With the speakers turned away, the sound isn't blaring right at me and because they are pointed at an angle toward the corner, the sound bounces a few times before it gets to me. This produces a richer, more complex arrangement. I have no idea where I got the idea to do this, but it blew me away. Now I need the new BOSE Computer MusicMonitor speakers and my ears will literally die and go to heaven.

The presentation lesson here is by being indirect (i.e. - engaging different tools and resources instead of just coming right out and saying your point) you can add layers, richness and power. Your point still needs to be said. This is not a diversion or avoidance strategy. This is an experience strategy. The experience of listening to my laptop station music is greater now than before. The experience of your presentation (the sounds, the sights, the feel, the interaction, the emotion, the logic, etc.) will stay with your listeners long after your words are gone.

So, how can you apply this "indirect is powerful" dynamic to your presentations? Here are a few suggestions...

1. Show a picture without text and let the picture tell the story.
2. Give one strong statistic instead of ten weak ones.
3. Start with a metaphor from your personal experiences highlighting your point instead of starting with your point first.
4. Have a self-running slide show running in the background providing visual context and extensions to your words.
5. Use a simple prop.
6. Engage the audience in an experiential interaction allowing them to experience your point, not just hear it.
7. Show a video.
8. Ask for audience responses.
9. Have the audience talk to each other about one of your points.
10. Use music to set the mood. Remember to angle the speakers. :)

I would love to see some comments on other "indirect" strategies you have used or seen.

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