Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Where Do I Put Your Information?

Your audience walks into the room with a load of information in their brains. Memories in the form of pictures, smells, words, people, data, facts, feelings, places and emotions.

As you plan your next presentation, consider where you want them to put your information and how easy/difficult you make it for them to know:

1. What category does your content fits into? Is this entertainment, education, personal use, school use, professional use, etc?

2. Is it pre-packaged elegantly enough for me to know where the chunks of information begin and end? How well organized do you have your presentation flowed out?

3. When/where/why/how am I supposed to re-access this information? Is this something I should be using today, tomorrow, three weeks from now or all the above?

Your audience's answers to these questions will not only impact how they feel about your presentation, but also the likeliness of them actually using your information after you are gone.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Using Stories You Aren't In...

Be authentic as a speaker does not mean you always have to tell stories from your life or from the lives of people you know. You can branch out and use stories outside of your inner sphere to support your points. A few reasons why:

1. Unless you are a narcotics cop in Detroit, a professional hitch hiker or Roger Rabbit, your life probably isn't full of the most interesting stories out there. Of course, most of the interestingness of a story is in the telling, not in the tale itself, but the lion's share of the stories out there at your disposal don't reside in your particular life line.

2. A big part of being a great speaker is being a great story teller, but that doesn't mean the stories have to be true to your life. True, yes. True to your life, not always.

3. As long as you get permission to use a story that is a creative piece from another speaker or author and you don't tell a story like it happened to you if it didn't, you can use as much great material as you can get your hands on.

4. Sure, there are a large number of speakers out there who have great life stories. Either very tragic, heroic, hilarious, etc. And there are those presenters who have the Seinfeld Gift - they can take the simplest, most ordinary story and make it into something worth listening to. However, just because you haven't lost your leg or haven't made it to the Olympics or you don't have the gift of being able to make cotton balls hilarious, doesn't mean you have to use something other than great, epic stories to support your message.

Will all this great support for searching out great stories from sources other than your life, it is important to add the cautionary tale that you do probably have more interesting stories from your own life worth telling than you think you do. So, I do suggest you search through your personal library of coolness before you expend too much energy in the rest of the world's book store. Good luck and tell 'em like you mean it...