Master Your Message Blog

Structure

When I speak to a group, I try to speak in seven minute segments MAX. That’s Magic Time! Because after seven minutes of information battering our little brains, our eyes roll back in our heads and we shut down.

And where has this come from? Television, of course. Because a program segment is about 7 minutes … then there’s a commercial .. unless you zap it .. but you’re still programmed to take a break.

Today, attention spans are getting even shorter. So, it depends on your audience. The younger, the shorter … generally.

The point is, “think in modules.” If your talk is longer than 10 minutes, you need to break it up. It should be at least a two or three module talk. That Read More …

Here’s a video that I created for a client a few months ago that serves to illustrate a persuasive structure for any type of presentation, email, letter, phone call, etc. It’s only two minutes long (that was actually a requirement).

The presentation was a key element of a larger package that secured a $400K grant. Tecterra was the funding organization (the “client” in this case). There were four grants available and over 70 contenders.

Hopefully, you can pick out the key elements in the structure. They can be subtle, because you want the presentation to flow.

First, start with what your audience knows. Usually it centres around the problem. That’s usually the one thing we can all relate to—the thing that’s making us 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 …

Virtually every presentation has to persuade someone of something.

Now you might argue that point by saying that some presentations are informational. That may be true. But there’s usually a desire on the part of the presenter to persuade the audience that the information is important, or that they should do something with that information after the talk is complete.

Setting up a persuasive presentation is actually relatively easy. You want to make sure your audience knows why you’re all assembled there – usually there’s a problem or opportunity. It’s your job as the presenter to state what it is so that you and the audience are “on the same page.”

Once the problem is on the table, it’s time to deal with the solution. Read More …

My boss wanting me to get to the point

My boss – Yikes!

Let’s talk about the boss. I know, not your favourite subject. You know how your boss wants the details in 30 seconds or less. “Cut the small talk … give me the results.”

Well, most of the time, so does your audience. Now, what I mean by this is that your audience doesn’t want to be left guessing about what point you’re trying to make. They will be if you start with all the details first – or if you begin with a story that meanders around the main point.

So, let’s say I want to get my boss to purchase a new office printer, as the current one is slow and constantly breaks down. That’s what this particular presentation is Read More …

There is nothing quite like a beautiful body. Perfect form and an end that sells the whole package.

Hey, I’m talking about presentations!

Your presentation can take a number of different forms. You’ll find a list of the most common ones here. For more in-depth information and examples of how to use them, you’ll have to take my online, self-paced video course, Persuasive Presentations 2.0.

Persuasive presentations always have a strong open and close – they’re the most important parts of your presentation … but the middle of your presentation is called “the body” and it has to be “just right.” It’s where you get the chance to really be persuasive.

The body is where you make your key points. And the beauty 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 …

This is for those of us who have sat through a persuasive presentation and wondered, “What on earth is this about?”

I haven’t actually counted, but it seems to me that it happens more than fifty percent of the time. I don’t know where the speaker is going. The flow of the presentation is off – it’s not logical.

More often than not, the speakers forgets to tell us what the presentation is about … they just launch into the middle of it.

Or sometimes, they start with a big, long story … but we have no idea where it’s leading … sometimes, even at the end of it!

There’s a really simple way of thinking about the flow. It’s the secret to crafting really Read More …

Attentive audience membersDo you want to win more business – have more successful persuasive presentations?

The secret: Know your audience.

It’s amazing how many presenters don’t properly research their audience.

I often use the phrase “get under their skin.” In fact, it’s the title of one of the modules of my online presentations course, “Persuasive Presentations 2.0.” It’s so important, I dedicate one of eight modules to it alone.

Here’s why: If you understand your audience’s pain and can alleviate it, your chances of success go through the roof. By “pain,” I mean what’s really bothering them. What is their major concern in the area you’re addressing? Get “under their skin”— really understand them and their challenges. That allows you to deliver your solution more Read More …

The most common question I get in seminars is “How do I begin to put together a presentation? Where do I start?”

And I always say “Start at the end.” And that usually gets a big, blank stare.

What I mean is: start with what you want your audience to do.

And to figure that out, think about the moment at the end of your presentation when your audience has all the information you’ve presented … what is it you want them to do … to think … to understand? It needs to be one action or thought and you should be able to describe it in a short sentence.

One short sentence … your objective. And you absolutely, positively need to write it Read More …