Master Your Message Blog


If you want your audience to remember something, say it again … and again … and again.

Dr. Martin Luther King’s famous speech of March 28, 1863 stays with us today … at least the title does … “I Have A Dream.” Now, how many times did he say that line?
 Right … Eight! Eight times with intervals in between. Smart.

Speaking of smart: They’ve done experiments with students studying for tests. They had one group cram the night before and another group was shown the information in spaced intervals over a longer period of time. Who did better on the test?*

Right! Not the crammers. In fact, they did way worse.

Here’s the key. We learn the best when information is introduced in greater Read More …

Words actually don’t exist … to our brains, at any rate. We don’t see words as a series of letters. We see them as pictures.

I know … that changes things. When we read a word, we actually see it as a whole bunch of little tiny pictures. We look for features like horizontal or vertical lines, rounded corners, etc. and then we think back to our library of letter images and match it up to what we’ve stored from the past.

Over time, we get pretty darn good at this process and it takes us milliseconds to do all the calculations and read a sentence. So reading text is highly taxing on our brains. As a result, text presentations are simply not very effective Read More …

Make your presentation facts interesting and memorable.

Ever have a presenter give you a fact during a presentation and you had no idea what it meant – how it related to you or anything else, for that matter?

If you’re like me, the answer is “all the time.”

There are technical presentations in which presenters ream off fact after fact after fact with no indication as to what’s really important and how it relates to what you already know. At the end of the presentation, you leave the room wondering what on earth it all meant, unable to remember even a single number or point.

The most error I see most often is the presenter who throws out a number without the context. For Read More …

Movies are totally involving. The best ones make a point. And they’re about people. And we remember the really good ones for a long, long time. That’s the power of stories.

They’re the most compelling part of any presentation.

Doug Stevenson's book on how to tell stories in business presentationsI saw master storytelling coach, Doug Stevenson speak last year. Doug coaches business people in the art of storytelling. And if you’re serious about being a compelling speaker, you absolutely have to get his book, Doug Stevenson’s Story Theater Method. You’ll find Doug at “The Storytelling Studio for Business.”

Doug is coming to Calgary! If you’re in the Calgary or Edmonton area, this is a NOT TO BE MISSED one day workshop on storytelling for business – on Sunday, June 15, 2014. Get more Read More …

Presentations are about change. Cause if everything was going to stay the same, you wouldn’t need a presentation!

So … anytime there’s change within an organization, there’s some type of presentation that needs to be put together. It can be:

  • as simple as a well-thought-out conversation,
  • as challenging as an on-stage presentation to a packed auditorium, or
  • as calculated as a video program broadcast throughout the organization.

Of course, there are other combinations in between.

The similarity in all these presentation forms is that they have be structured to be persuasive: They must persuade the audience to change in some way, shape, or form.

“More easily said than done!” you might say. And, you’d be right!

Here’s the key: To be persuasive, you have Read More …

You get judged by your opening

Malcolm Gladwell’s “Blink”

In the first few seconds, as you walk on stage, your audience is “sizing you up.” They’re figuring out whether they like you and are going to listen to you. They’re also making a decision as to whether you’re funny or not and whether you know what you’re talking about. There’s a great book called “Blink” by Malcolm Gladwell about that split second when people subconsciously judge you. We all do it.

The opening of any presentation is THE most important element. It can make or break you as a presenter.

So, it’s important to think about your first few seconds on stage. I recently critiqued a new professional speaker who started her talk by coming on stage all smiles and giving Read More …

Dr. Martin Luther King speaking, "I Have a Dream"The key to having impact with your persuasive presentation is practicing the Rule of One.

The rule of one is simple. If your presentation is about more than one thing, you’re wasting your time. Nobody will ever remember what it was about. I’m serious!

Let’s say you did a half-hour presentation starting at five o’clock in the afternoon. You finish at 5:30. Surveys show that at 6 o’clock, a half hour after you’ve finished, your audience will remember a mere 50% of your content.

Next morning … when you get to the office, ask around and you’ll find that most remember 25%. A week later, if you were to do the same survey, the result would be 10%.

This is a great example Read More …

There is one word that’s the most important word in any persuasive presentation: You.

If my speech or presentation is about me, it may have interest, if it’s a good story, but if it’s about you … out there in the audience … there is nothing more interesting on earth! To you at least! Right?


Your presentation belongs to your audienceThe most important thing I learned on my journey to speaking professionally is that my presentation belongs to my audience. Now, I might have personal stories to illustrate a point, but the point has to relate to my audience … you. It has to, to be of interest and for me to be successful.

In fact, the objective of any talk has to center on your audience. If you’re Read More …

Let’s look at “builds.” Builds are really powerful. They make information stick. Like goo.

I define builds as short phrases or words that are added to a screen on a particular cue. You can build text on the screen line by line or word by word.

The power of builds is that, if done properly, they visually reinforce key phrases you say that are really important. They can help make a specific idea memorable; set it apart from other screen text.

The important thing is the interaction between your voice and what appears on the screen.

From a learning perspective, two senses are way more powerful than one. So, saying a word and showing that word at the same time means your audience will remember it over Read More …


Mother Nature

If you’re in any type of persuasive situation (presentation or not), you have to control the narrative—the story. Your story has to be the most compelling one. If you simply attack the existing narrative, your chances of winning are slim.

In sports, any team that plays only defense won’t win. You need to play offense, as well as defense. That’s a key lesson of sports.

I’ve been working with a group of scientists and engineers who are adamant about discrediting the current manmade warming theory. After all, it’s a scam and simply doesn’t survive any type of true analytical thinking. The solar system creates the climate on Earth and man is not in control of anything. Sorry!

Ask any astrophysicist.

But Read More …