I’m going to show you how to build out your presentation in an engaging way…by showing you how I create my presentations.
I don’t create my speech/presentations the way most speakers do because I prefer to add more entertainment value.
In fact, I hate writing out my entire speech because when you write, it’s completely different than when you talk (as you can tell from all my grammar and spelling mistakes, I’m not a writer).
The first time I wrote a speech, it was for a high school that hired me as a motivational speaker.
They wanted me to speak for 60 minutes and talk to the students about my success. Ok, no problem…or so I thought.
(That little spec on the right is me)
I started writing out my speech, word for word, and in my head…it felt like the greatest presentation in the world.
And then I started practicing it.
…It was hard to remember everything I wrote.
After being ‘comfortable’ with it, it was go-time. Time to speak to the all young-ins.
I get on stage and deliver the opening line. Seems to be going pretty good.
Then I IMMEDIATELY forget the rest.
(So much for all that practice.)
What did I do?
I just remembered my talking points and said whatever the heck comes to my mind.
And about 25 minutes into the 60 minute presentation…I’m done.
Yup…I finished all my talking points…uh oh!
If you’ve ever had that moment where you run out of things to say before your presentation is over, then you know it doesn’t feel good.
So what did I do?
I did what I do best…
….perform mind reading.
I remember saying something like, “You know what, forget just ‘talking’ about this…let me show you.”
And then I started performing for the group.
Nobody knew I ran out of things to say because nobody could tell the difference.
But that lead me to creating my presentations in a different way. Forget the ‘write a speech’ and ‘memorize it’ style. That style wasn’t for me.
Here’s what I do now:
First, I think more about who I’m talking to.
Presentations are all about the audience. So I think about what kind of speakers they’ve seen, why they’re at this event, what they expect, and so on.
If I were to speak to a small group of 15 people, the presentation would be more of a conversation because the setting is more intimate. But if I were speaking to 500 people, the presentation would be more of a full-blown experience.
Your entire presentation has to answer the question of…
… “What’s in it for me?” …
…Because if you don’t, people won’t pay attention.
And the only way you can figure out what’s in it for them is to understand your audience.
When I was hired for an event with Real Estate Agents…I read up on their business, their problems, etc….just so I can understand their state of mind.
Once I know who the audience is, now…
I think of the main theme/message I want to get across.
What exactly do I want to talk about? And more importantly, why would the audience listen?
It always has to come back to the audience.
So I write down everything the audience wants. Their true desires. What keeps them up at night. What do they talk about all day? What are they afraid to admit to themselves? I get inside their heads.
…And then I relate this to what my theme is.
When I know my audience, and I know my theme, now I focus 90% of my time on the experience.
So I get into my ‘thinking mode’ and I come up with demonstrations that would convey the message I want to communicate.
But I don’t focus on communicating my message directly.
Why? Because it’s boring.
What if you watched a movie and they told you the meaning of the movie…every time?
What if you watch Will Smith’s The Pursuit Of Happiness and they kept saying things like, “When things are hard, you need to push through.” How boring would that be?
Instead, they show it to you and let you come to your own conclusions.
You see Will Smith struggling. Sleeping in a bathroom with his kid. And then you see the big success at the end. They don’t directly tell you the message, they let you experience it.
So once I understand my message, now comes the tricky task of getting an audience to experience it.
How do I do this?
Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn. -Benjamin Franklin
Your mind is interesting. When someone tells you something directly, you question it. But when you figure it out for yourself, it’s true.
And as a speaker, you can do something that other people can’t do…you can create an experience for people.
Why do people see movies, or concerts, instead of speakers? Speakers have the ability to give much more valuable information than a movie or a concert. But speakers don’t create experiences…they just talk.
People want experiences.
It’s time that speakers start stepping up their game and move from the ‘lecture mode’ to the ‘experiences mode.’
When I create a presentation for a larger audience, most of my presentation involves demonstrations because I want them to truly experience the message rather than just being told the message.
I can tell someone to ‘think differently’ …but that doesn’t mean they’re going to think any different.
On the other hand, if I do a demonstration, then the demonstration can cause you to think differently and I don’t have to say a word.
First, I have an idea-dump of demonstrations. I just close my eyes and imagine different demonstrations. And 99% of what I think about can’t be done. But I think about it anyways to get my mind going.
For example…if I were a sales speaker, I would imagine speaking at the event and telling someone to call their mom on the phone. Then I would put the mom on speaker phone and sell her on buying a private jet.
Something like that is way out of the ballpark but I think about it anyways. Then, if it makes sense, I tone it down into something that might be possible.
After I pick about 6 demonstrations that would communicate what I want to communicate, then I would put them in a sequence.
Which one should go first? Second? Third? What’s the metaphor for this first demonstration? What’s the metaphor for the second one?
In my presentation about ‘Staying Sharp’…I do a demonstration involving the entire audience. It’s a little game where I guess which hand people put a coin in…and then I talk about how to see the world differently than everyone else.
The entire presentation goes like this…
Frame: tell them what they’re about to see and why it matters to them
Demonstrate: show them
Metaphor: translate the demonstration (what they experienced)
I’m going to show you something that will get you to start thinking differently than the people around you. As someone who runs their own business, when you start thinking differently, you start getting results faster. When you think differently, you….
You know what, let me show you how this works. Everyone stand up and grab a coin from your pocket. Or if you don’t have a coin, grab a sugar packet off the table, or your keys from your pocket, just something small that can fit into your hand. And then place it behind your back like this….” … “In a second, I’m going to have you all put it into one of your hands, but before you do that, I’m going to influence everyone in this room….” [finish demonstration]
How is it that this worked on almost everyone in the room? Is it because I’m smarter? Well, if you asked my mom then she would say yes. But it’s not because I’m smarter. It’s because…
Then I repeat the process.
My presentation has segments, so I don’t have to memorize everything.
What do I mean?
I think of the 6 demonstrations I’m going to do, and then I figure out what I’m going to say for each demonstration. So each demonstration is it’s own speech.
Then, I put all 6 demonstrations together…into a full speech.
And when I’m on stage, I know that demonstrations #1 is the thing I do with the coin. Demonstration #2 is the thing I do with a wallet. Demonstration #3 is the thing I do with….And that’s how I remember everything.
It’s very similar to telling stories.
You almost always tell a story the same way, no matter who you’re talking to. So if you were to take 6 of your life stories, and put them into one big presentation, then you would have an easier time remember the entire presentation.
You would easily know that your first story is about ‘the one with the donkey and the cruise ship.’ So you wouldn’t need to remember the exact words, you would just be triggered by the donkey/cruise ship, and then go on autopilot to tell the story.
That’s what I do with my demonstrations.
I practice each demonstration, by itself, and then put them all together.
After all this…
I practice in two different ways.
- I practice the presentation as if I’m on stage (but I practice in a room…from beginning to end).
- I visualize the entire presentation in my head
Visualization is something that Olympic athletes do, and a lot of speakers, because it works. I won’t go into all the studies…but it works.
After I have it down, to a point where I don’t have to think about it anymore, I deliver the presentation.