5 ways to be a top presenter – meet the F!RST framework

Your challenge

Think about it – I bet many of the presentations you sit through are either a bit dull, or just plain awful, right? (We’ve all seen those!)

But wait a second

What are you doing to radically distance
your presentations from those?

It’s tough, because you likely use basically the same software, skill-set and approach as roughly 99% of presenters. So unless you take clear steps, sadly your audience will see your work as being just the same as all the rest!

The F!RST framework (simply pronounced “first framework”) gives you those steps


What’s in the rest of this post?


How this blog can help you

Luckily, there are more and more books and blogs available to help us all present better, like these 6 of the world’s best blogs for presenters, and the ones listed in the blogroll on my home page. In particular, this blog gives you tips specifically designed to distinguish your work from other people’s.

It doesn’t matter whether you use PowerPoint… or even if you present without slides

For starters, within 5 minutes, this post gives you just a quick taste of a 5-part framework for being a top presenter. (In later posts, you’ll see in detail – with examples – how to use the framework.)

The framework gives you specific tips whatever your current approach, so it doesn’t matter whether you use PowerPoint or another tool – like Prezi, Keynote, Google Docs, or OpenOffice Impress – or even if you present without slides.


My challengeBack to Contents ↑

I’d been seeking a magic bullet

Until now, I’d been seeking just one magic bullet framework – if you forgive the pun! But I’ve realised presenting’s too diverse and complex for that. So over the coming months, I’ll present several frameworks that all make presenting easier and more effective for you.

Fittingly, we’ll start with one called the F!RST framework.


What’s in the F!RST framework?Back to Contents ↑

F!RST is an acronym that stands for 5 things you can do to present well:


You might think being remembered and standing out are the same…

If you’re wondering, the “i” in F!RST is deliberately made to stand out, because it’s short for the most crucial but often ignored aspect of public speaking and presenting. That is – Ignite action!

Also, at first sight, you might think being remembered and standing out (for instance) are much the same, but don’t worry –  as the series goes on, the differences between the framework’s parts will become much clearer.

Here’s an overview of what the F!RST framework involves


Focus attentionBack to Contents ↑

The first thing to do is focus attention – your own

When you begin preparing a presentation, the first thing to do is to focus attention – your own. And naturally when you come to actually present, you also need to focus (and keep) your audience’s attention. You can focus both parties better by using another acronym – AIM – which stands for:

To do those 3 things, in the next few posts you’ll find over 20 tips, including:

Begin persuading your audience in just 3 sentences


 Ignite actionBack to Contents ↑

Just talking about the solution isn’t enough

So many talks don’t have a call-to-action, yet they need one if they’re going to get results. (After all, just talking about the solution isn’t enough – your audience needs to actually put it into action.)

In this part of the F!RST framework, you’ll use 3 points to help your listeners act on your talk. It’s quite apt – they form the acronym ACT…


Be RememberedBack to Contents ↑

For people to do what your talk suggests, being remembered is vital

For your audience to do what your talk suggests (such as buying your product, or supporting you or your cause), being remembered is vital.

In everyday life, how might you remind a friend of something when you’re apart? It’s likely you’d send them a text message – an SMS. Well, SMS is another acronym I’ll use, this time for the “be Remembered” part of the F!RST framework. It stands for:

Part 3 of the series shows you how to use those 3 things to ensure your talk’s remembered long afterwards.


Stand outBack to Contents ↑

Today, dismal presentations are the norm

Sadly, today, dismal presentations are the norm, so naturally you want to do far better than that. Standing out is similar to being remembered, but it also implies your talk has more credibility than most.

How can you make your talk stand out and be more credible? Well for one thing, avoid what most presenters do. For instance, as renowned public-speaking expert Olivia Mitchell put it:

“Bullet-point slides damage your brand”
Olivia Mitchell

So instead of bullets, to stand out I recommend you focus on 5 aspects of your presentation that we’ll call “OPQRS”. That stands for:

O –   Overhaul
P –   Pictures
Q –   Quotes
R –   Refinements
S –   Statistics

(As the topic is about standing out, using 5 letters seems apt when the other parts of the F!RST framework each use 3-letter abbreviations!)

In part 4, you’ll see clear ways to use OPQRS to great effect.


Get Talked aboutBack to Contents ↑

Through social media, you can reach far more people who can champion your message

By getting talked about through social media and other channels, you can reach far more people who can champion your message.

In effect, that lets you “breathe new life” into your talk. So it’s fitting that getting talked about uses the mnemonic CPR, which stands for:

For tips on how to use those 3 points so your message gets talked about, see part 5 of the series.


Next stepsBack to Contents ↑

So I hope you’ll read the next part of the series, which includes over 20 tips on how you can strongly focus attention – your own and your audience’s. And as you think about your current approach, I hope you enjoy this quote by Tim Berners-Lee as much as I do:

“The future is still so much bigger than the past”
Tim Berners-Lee


Please join the conversation

  • What are your first thoughts about the F!RST framework?
  • What are the strengths or limits of your current approach?
  • Do you use any other presentation frameworks?
  • If so, how similar or different are they compared to this?

8 thoughts on “5 ways to be a top presenter – meet the F!RST framework

  1. My first thoughts about your framework are: WOW. I love that you took the time to come up with the first acronym as well as the pictures which were chosen to represent each point. Also what is great is that you have so many links linking to other related blogs of yours. Very impressive blog.
    As to standing out, maybe you might find this post helpful.

    It is about how using more white space in slides help your slides to stand out more.

    Keep up the great work!


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