Build your talk on messages, not topics – Secret #15 of star presenters [Video]

Scrabble letter tiles saying “Wordy slides KILL your message!”Have you heard of the “assertion-evidence approach” for making slides? It’s a simple, powerful, evidence-based approach to presenting your talk.

It was devised as a more effective way to share scientific findings. But you can also use its direct­ness and clarity in business – to great effect.

And that’s especially so when you present insights from analysing data. You know, like:

  • customer touchpoints
  • company financials
  • employee survey results.

 

What’s in this post?

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From numbers to narrative – 4 keys of data storytelling [Video]

Data dashboard shown on a laptopWhen you’re preparing a data-rich talk, where could you learn to get your message across better?

In my opinion, you couldn’t do much better than watching the 55-minute video below, by Isaac Reyes. (The first 45 minutes or so consist of Isaac’s talk, and the rest is him answering questions.)

Isaac’s a data scientist, and the video’s from ODSC Europe 2018 (Open Data Science Conference).

The talk describes these 4 keys of data storytelling:
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Who knew? 3 things a bank can teach you about public speaking

A pair of handprints surrounding a hand-painted heart symbolIf you look carefully, you can often learn great public-speaking tips from all kinds of places. (Not just from obvious ones, like courses.)

Let’s check out an example

As my LinkedIn profile can tell you, I work at CommBank – Commonwealth Bank of Australia, also known as CBA.

Recently, CommBank’s values were updated, so they’re now succinctly expressed in just 3 words:

  • Care
  • Courage
  • Commitment

When I first heard those words, I was struck by how well they work together. And as I reflected on exactly why that is, I realised it’s because they have these 3 traits:
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3 steps to present like a dataviz rockstar – part 2 [Video]

Flaming guitarNeed to present some data? About the best way you can do that is to use a data visualisation.

Most often, a dataviz is simply a chart. But you might choose to use something less mainstream, like a heatmap.

Whatever type of dataviz you choose, I suggest you use this 3‑step method for making your dataviz more effective:
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3 steps to present like a dataviz rockstar – part 1 [Video]

Flaming guitarWhen you share data – in a slideshow, a dashboard, or a written report – how can you give your message impact? (You know, so you persuade people that it’s a big deal, and so they act on your message.)

To help you do that, you’ll find 3 powerful steps in this post and my next:

  1. Simplify
  2. Satisfy…
  3. Storify…

Step 1’s the key (and the easiest)

Step 1’s the key (and the easiest), and step 3’s perhaps the most adv­anced – which is why I’ve put them in that order.
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My logo can help you be a better speaker – here’s how

Even if you’re a regular reader here, it’s quite unlikely you know what my logo looks like. So check it out:
Equilateral triangle with one angle coloured red, another coloured green and the third coloured blue

The logo’s shape and colours represent tech­niques you can use

The logo’s shape and colours represent techniques you can use to make your public speaking more effective. In this post, you’ll find:

  • What those techniques are.
  • Links where you can learn more.

If you’re short of time, you can click a heading in this post’s contents list:

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Avoid my mistakes in your Ignite talk – part 1 [Video]

Short of time? Skip the intro

Ignite Sydney logoIf you’re thinking of speaking at an Ignite night, this post can help you avoid the mistakes I made in my own Ignite talk.

And even if you give some other kind of speech, the tips you’ll find in this post (like about humour, gestures and opening lines) should still help.

In this post and my next, you’ll find a critique of various aspects of my talk on this 3-point scale:
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Make your talk engaging – 5 tips to add emotional elements [PACE principles: part 4]

Short of time? Skip to the tips

5 boiled eggs with different facial expression drawn on themWhen you present at work (or at a conference or other speaking event), do you aim to make people feel some­thing specific?

If you do, you’ll have a far higher chance of engaging people, and therefore of achieving your talk’s goal. But if you don’t, your talk’s likely to be quickly forgotten – in less time than it took you to present!

Not convinced? Well, many speaking professionals suggest using emotional elements. For instance, in his book The Naked Presenter, Garr Reynolds writes:

“Content alone is never sufficient.
We need an emotional connection…”
Garr Reynolds

And former president of the National Speakers’ Association, Patricia Fripp says:
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Want to transform your audience? Here’s how… [Video] ·

Semi-submerged frog with a butterfly perched on its headWhen you present (or give a speech), do you struggle to have the impact you’d like?

If so, you’re not alone – I’d say the vast majority of presenters have that problem.

And I’m one of them!

So I was stoked to see a recent TEDx talk that shares a simple yet powerful tool to fix that issue.

The talk’s by speaker-coach Phil Waknell, who says your presentation should transform your audience – not just inform them.

Phil sees the process like this:

“To take your audience on a transformational journey,
you first need to work out where they are starting from”
Phil Waknell – at 5:35
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Yes! People’s starting point – that’s one of the keys to making your talk truly audience-focused.

A few years ago, Chris Anderson (curator of TED) shared a similar thought:

“You’ve got to start where they are, and you’ve
got to give them a reason to come with you”
Chris Anderson

Phil’s TEDx talk gives you a neat technique that lets you do exactly that. So, want to see his talk?

To save you time, the clip below’s just 4 minutes long, because it jumps straight to Phil’s main point (skipping both the first 5 minutes and last 5 minutes of his talk).

But if you want, you can always click the progress bar to jump to other parts of the full 15-minute video. (For instance, he goes on to finish the example he started.)

 

What’s in the clip?Scroll to top ↑

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Write better talks – in just 4 steps [Video]

Muslim girl writing the word "better" on a blackboardSometimes, do you have trouble engaging people when you’re presenting?

Here’s a great way to fix that:
Give your talk a strong structure.

If you use the structure shared in this post:

  • You’ll engage people right from the start.
  • You’ll keep them hooked right to the end.
  • They’re more likely to think the content you’re presenting’s just what they need.

Actually, you’ll find 2 things in this post that you can use to build a better talk:

  • A strong structure for the content you present.
  • A 4-step method for writing your speeches (and e-books, newsletters, etc).

Both are set out in the 15-minute video below, by speaker-coach Hugh Culver:

In a hurry? You can skip the video’s intro (of 3½ minutes).
And if you watch on Vimeo, you can even speed up playback.

 
I came across Hugh’s video a while ago, and was really impressed with how audience-focused the structure is that he presents. I also like that he uses just 4 steps to map out the writing process:

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