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How I prepare for public speaking

After a cheer up from Henrik Kniberg today I post my checklist about how I go about preparing for a public talk (don’t like to call it presentation, because you are more likely to think PowerPoint then, which does not have to be the case ;)).

Before I start I try to jot down the answers to these questions:

  • How much time do I have?
  • Whats the venue like?
  • What time of day?
  • Who is the audience?
  • Whats their background?
  • What do they expect of me?
  • Why was I asked to speak?
  • What do I want them to do?
  • What visual medium is most appropriate for this particular situation and audience?
  • What is the fundamental purpose of my talk?
  • Whats the story here?
  • What is my absolute central point?
  • Why does it matter?

I use SUCCESs to craft my story.
Simple – the core message that is compact and profound. It functions more like a proverb than a sound bite.
Unexpected – get your audience’s attention and hold it by using surprise and mystery.
Concrete – make your idea understandable and memorable by breaking it down into terms that can be imagined by the senses.
Credible – help your audience believe and agree with your idea by using appropriate testimonies, statistics, and examples.
Emotional – get your audience to care about your idea by using specific examples of someone in need or by appealing the audience’s self-interest or sense of identity.
Stories – get people to take action by telling the right stories.

Now off to some meaty stuff:
Step 1. Brainstorm. Go analog.Be messy. See the story from all sides.
Step 2. Group and identify the core. One key idea. Organize into 3-4 main parts that support your central idea.
Step 3. Storyboard offline. Post-its. 3 slides per sheet sketches of your visuals with key points to every slide.
Step 4. Storyboard in slide sorter (if you need PowerPoint after all). Bumper slides divide the sections should be visually different.

Do some polishing touches:

  • Remove visual clutter
  • Short quotes
  • Empty space
  • Balance

Remember that good design is based on CRAP:

  • Contrast
  • Repetition
  • Alignment
  • Proximity

And finally think about delivery.

  • Be completely present.
  • Connect with the audience. Appeal to both logical and emotional.
  • Bring energy and passion to your delivery. Dont hold back.
  • Leave them just a little hungry for more.

This post is based on following books:

  • Garr Reynolds, Presentation zen
  • Dan and Chip Heat, Made to Stick
  • Robin Williams, The Non-Designer’s Design Book

Henrik Kniberg said,

August 23, 2010 @ 17:25

Great stuff! Thanks for posting.

Ingrid Støver Jensen said,

August 24, 2010 @ 17:04

Genialt. Jobber med å forberede en “forestilling” , og dette er rene vitamininnstprøytingen:)

Anonymous said,

August 26, 2010 @ 6:00

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May 14, 2017 @ 10:59

Each of the presented aspects must be taken into account before the public speaking. This will help us to cope with the excitement and make a positive impression on the audience.

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May 20, 2017 @ 16:50

public speaking is a big stress for my organism, thank for sharing these helpful tips!

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