The Talk

The Talk

A great way to turn your audience On is to set up your talk, pitch, or speech by endorsing it yourself, "You're going to love this!" That statement alone will light up the audience and keep them enthused (unless what you're saying or showing is in fact a hollow tune).

Turning the audience Off is easy. Don't do this at home or in public: "I have a lot to get through..." flipping through the pile of notes on the presentation table, "...so pay attention." I'm gone. Done. And so are most people.

Einstein said the highest form of intellect is "Simple." Simple works. And I say "Simple shouldn't be horrendously long." When someone says they have a lot of material and they need to cram in the information, it takes the fun, ease, and excited listener into a state of questions:

  • Why didn't you summarize?
  • Why is there so much stuff to get through?
  • Why does high school keep following me?
  • ...And so on.

Try keeping the audience on the edge of their seat. Remember, most people don't listen because you have a lot to say, they listen because you've made it simple and cool enough to understand.

Last thing, if I'm not going to take what you're presenting and make it my career, then please summarize! And if I am making a career out of your presentation subject matter, then we cannot get it done in 40 minutes. So let's not try.

Be like the guys on TED. 15 to 20 minutes tops and they're presenting the most cutting edge ideas in the world. What a concept.

As a rule, if you start boring yourself, stop or change. Don't carry on the same way you've always done something especially if you bore yourself…

Keep it simple. Your audience will thank you.

(photo via next conference)