On Presenting: Make Your Message Matter

Make_Your_MessageIf you’re tapped to speak at a meeting or convention, here are a few things to consider as you plan your presentation:

Tell stories.
People have communicated using stories since the dawn of spoken language. When you communicate through a story, it helps your audience get more emotionally engaged with you and your topic.

Avoid being a “Karaoke Manager.”
Audiences see right through those who predictably lip-synch the corporate line. It undermines both your credibility and the believability of your message.

Jettison the jargon.
Talk like the real person you are. Avoid deadening business clichés like “take it to the next level” or “synergize our efforts.” Take pains to say—simply and specifically—what you really mean.

If you must use PowerPoint…
There’s almost nothing less engaging than a speaker who reads slides to an audience. Use the TelePrompTer or PowerPoint’s notes function for your speaker notes … and choose presentation visuals that spark the viewer’s imagination.

About those handouts…
And don’t even try to use your presentation visuals as a handout… that’s an all-too-common practice that results in both poor presentations and poor handouts. Hand out your outline or speaker notes in Word format instead.

Speak from the heart.
Facts get you in the door, but emotion closes the deal. Be honest about your personal investment in the topic and don’t be afraid to let your passion show.

Finish on time.
Finally, heed presentation consultant Dorothy Sarnoff’s immortal words: “Make sure you have finished speaking before your audience has finished listening.”


Rick Cornish creates communications that inform, influence and inspire… helping organizations increase sales, promote unity and persuade their people to embrace change. Working in video, corporate meetings, event marketing and more; Rick delivers purposeful creative that drives business results and builds stronger brands.

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