Hopefully you’ve been able to read Part 1 of this series of articles designed to enhance your journey to become a talented presenter. If you did, you will know that the quest begins with a set of critical questions about your purpose and your audience.
Once you are clear on both of those issues, it’s time to give some structure to the presentation whizzing around in your head. At the moment it probably feels like a theme park of noise in your mind.
To dampen the noise quickly, many presenters do what they always do and regurgitate similar old presentations they have hidden away in their laptops.
Resist the urge!
Tip 3: Play with Post-it Notes
If the first thing you do to formulate your ideas is turn on your laptop and start typing straight into PowerPoint, I can promise you that you’re likely to look and sound just like everyone else. If you do, I can also guarantee that your audience won’t thank you for it.
Play with large, coloured Post-it notes instead.
Step 1: On separate notes and in less than 140 characters on each, write down:
- Your message (if they remember nothing else, what is it they must remember?)
- What you want your audience to think about that message
- What you want them to feel about it
- What you want them to do when you finish speaking
Step 2: Without editing your thoughts or restricting the flow of ideas in any way, write down separately on each Post-it note every point, thought, fact, or idea that could support your message and bring it to life. Find others whose knowledge and opinions you trust to help you.
When you’ve exhausted everything you can think of, stick them all up on the kitchen wall. Leave them alone for at least 24 hours and promise your partner that in return for the mess you will commit to the most arduous household chore of their choice every day for the next week.
Step 3: Having left the Post-it notes on the kitchen wall for at least 24 hours, return to the wall and take a long, hard look. Be sure to look very closely at your original four central Post-it notes, then every single other one.
Ask yourself whether everything you have written on those individual notes is completely relevant and adds significant value to supporting the message and intentions on those four central notes. If you are satisfied that they do, then ask yourself, on a scale of 1 to 10, just how much value each Post-it note really adds.
1 represents very little or no value, while 10 is the equivalent of gold in bringing your message to life.
Look at the Post-it notes from your audience’s perspective, being brutally honest with yourself in the process.
Step 4: Remove every Post-it that you have scored a 7 or less. Would you want to be on the receiving end of information that was lower than an 8 in value?
Step 5: With only Post-it notes that you have valued 8 and above remaining on the wall, cluster together those that fall under the same category. For example, you may have several relating to areas such as financials, marketing, products, customers, technology, etc.
Step 6: With the same critical eye and mindset you used in Step 3, ask yourself whether anything now grouped together in those clusters is simply repetition or whether each Post-it still offers compelling value to your central four notes on its own.
Now your thinking is becoming clearer. Watch out for Part 3!
Maurice De Castro is a former corporate executive of some of the UK’s best loved brands. Maurice believes that the route to success in any organisation lies squarely in its ability to really connect with people. That’s why he left the boardroom to create a business helping leaders to do exactly that. Learn more at www.mindfulpresenter.com