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TechieTalks
HowTechnicalExpertsBecomePowerfulPresenters
AlisonKemp

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Alison Kemp

Techie Talks
How Technical Experts Become Powerful Presenters

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Techie Talks: How Technical Experts Become Powerful Presenters
1st edition
© 2013 Alison Kemp & bookboon.com
ISBN 978-87-403-0451-0


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Techie Talks

Contents

Contents
Introduction

8

1Seven Common myths torn to shreds

9

2

When Presentations are a Plus

11

2.1

Suggested scenarios for presentations

11

2.2

What’s in it for you?

11

3

Preparation and Planning

12



3.1

Defining the Subject

3.2

Audience and Situation Profile

3.3

Set the Key Message/Audience Motivator

3.4

Easy structuring of the content

360°
thinking

.

12
12
22
23

4The Spice Rack™: The 14 Ways To Grab And Keep Your Audience

28

4.1

29

Structuring, in a nutshell

360°
thinking

.

360°
thinking

.

Discover the truth at www.deloitte.ca/careers

© Deloitte & Touche LLP and affiliated entities.

Discover the truth at www.deloitte.ca/careers

Deloitte & Touche LLP and affiliated entities.

© Deloitte & Touche LLP and affiliated entities.

Discover the truth
4 at www.deloitte.ca/careers
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© Deloitte & Touche LLP and affiliated entities.

Dis


Techie Talks

Contents

5

30

Why this system works

6Techniques to keep the flow to your content

31

7Killer language, verbal craft and magic moves

32

7.1

Killer Language

32

7.2.

The Verbal Magic

33

7.3

Magic Moves: How to physically influence your audience’s opinion

34

8Practising Your Presentation

35

8.1

Loud and proud

35

8.2

Using Notes

35

9How to control nerves and get into the zone

36

9.1

36

Posture Check

9.2Face

36

9.3

Breathing Exercises

37

9.4

Calming the Mind

37

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Techie Talks

Contents

10Get control, clarity and colour into your voice

39

10.1

Being heard

39

10.2

Keeping your audience with you

39

10.3Pace

39

10.4

40

Using Vocal Emphasis to speak with greater Conviction

11Using Confident Body Language

41

11.1

Creating a strong presence

41

11.2

Moving naturally

41

11.3

Move to Relax and Signpost

42

11.4

Personal Eye Contact

42

12How to deal with ‘blanking’

43

13The 5-minute deal maker

44

14Presenting Using PowerPoint

45

14.1Do

45

14.2Don’t

45

14.3

46

Visual tips

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Contents

14.3.1

Diagrams: The wreckless and the refined

46

14.4

Fonts – Titles

48

14.5

Fonts – body

48

14.6

Progress Bar

49

14.7Colours

49

14.8

49

Flip Charts

15Managing the Question and Answer Session

50

15.1

Keeping control

50

15.2

Saving time and breath!

51

15.3

When there are no questions

51

15.4

The 7 golden rules for dealing with difficult questioners

51

15.5

Strategies for dealing with difficult questions

52

16Following up after your presentation

55

16.1

Continuing your development

56

17

About the Author

58

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Introduction

Introduction
Most presenters forget the key reason to speak to others is to persuade, changing minds – and hearts:
a change that results in action.
Experiences of listening and watching others drone on like monotonous graph-huggers, have instilled
in others a deep fear of sleep inducing monologues and a revelation of personal flaws.
This has been exacerbated in some areas by the ‘Steve Jobs’ effect where so many of the people I meet –
in IT especially – seem to hold him up as the only role model for presenting, a god of the spoken word,
a guru of the business stage. He did do a great job but his contexts were very specific and suited his
personality. Steve Ballmer, of Microsoft, bounces around like he’s taken an amphetamine and caffeine
mix. You’d never have seen Jobs do that, but it works – for Ballmer – and his audience’s love it. Watch
Jennifer Healey on Ted.com here and you’ll another version of what an excellent communicator does
with speaking in public. The core here is that they are true to themselves but deliver according to their
audience’s needs and what the situation demands of them.
Those with the know-how in Technology, Finance and Engineering have realised that their knowledge
can only be communicated if they engage with their audiences, and not with a data onslaught. This short
book is especially aimed at taking the pain out of presenting based on my workshops and coaching
sessions with technical experts over the years.
This guide will cover:
• Physical and mental preparation that doesn’t mean an hour of mediation and a gym
membership;
• How to make your message match your audience;
• Speedy and efficient preparation – on the hoof (no need to lock yourself in a room for 2
hours);
• The principles of delivering with impact;
• How to make the most of the opportunities that a presentation brings.
Presentations take practice. However, if you don’t want to consolidate bad habits but develop good
ones so you they become second nature then you’d definitely benefit from a mentor or coach. To
benefit from honest feedback and discover the most effective methods for your own needs, get in
touch with me here.

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Seven Common myths torn to shreds

1Seven Common myths torn to
shreds

So, let’s start with three of the most common misconceptions amongst technical experts regarding
presenting:
1. There’s no point in me presenting, when there’s someone more senior/more experienced
who can do it.
Technology is the backbone of business and sharing your knowledge serves this relationship.
From a personal point of view, your experience is different but no less valid than those who
are more senior in age or familiar with a role. The reason you have been chosen is because of
a combination of your technological knowhow and your ability to communicate this to others.
2. They’ll be waiting for me to mess up
Nobody is wishing you’d deliver a bad presentation. Have you ever gone to a presentation
wanting the speaker to be uninteresting? Probably not. Your audience want you to succeed.
Of course, sometimes you will get difficult members of the audience, or challenging groups
but we’ll cover that later.
3. I’ll have to become some sort of ‘performer’ to present
Actually, you can be more ‘you’ than you usually allow yourself to be. After a day speaking in
hushed tones in an open plan office, ensuring your voice does not impede the soundspace of
others, projecting your character with less restraint may, ironically, feel more unnatural. People
start to feel comfortable with ‘normal’: a normal they’ve learned from adapting behaviour in
certain environments that may be to the detriment of communicating clearly and with conviction.

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Techie Talks

Seven Common myths torn to shreds

To be an effective presenter does not mean being someone else. It means being the version of
you that can easily connect with others, in a way that does not feel forced or contrived.
4. Do I need to begin with a joke?
Unless you are a professional stand-up comedian and can link humour with your content,
use the Spice Rack™ on PAGE 28 to begin your presentation. Jokes depend on culture and
personality, so they may fall flat with some if not all of your audience. Cracking quips also
depends on timing, a concept that is hard to judge when you are coping with the AV system,
your nerves and the content.
Humour, however, is different: it is often the by-product of a familiar situation. For example,
showing a child weeping at a blackboard full of algebra could raise a smile with audiences as
most people can relate to that pain. When you add, “This is how your clients often feel when
you’re explaining why something isn’t working,” thereby using humour to drive the point home
through encouraging a situation familiar to many, without running the risk of trying to be
funny for its own sake.
5. Nerves are bad. I need to get rid of them
Really? Performers are often worried if they aren’t nervous. The point is for you to control the
nerves, rather than having the nerves control you. Adrenalin can help you to think quicker
and add dynamism to your delivery, certainly something to be happy about.
6. Steve Jobs used to practice his presentations for hours. Do I have to?
Steve Jobs learnt to present: inspiring communication was what he nurtured. Nolan Bushnell,
who ran Atari in the 1970s, actually found that he irritated the other developers to such an
extent, he had Jobs working nights. Driving his message home with passion and engagement,
is a skill Jobs honed. Practise until you get it right and can improvise confidently when it
doesn’t – without sacrificing message and impact. For some this comes more naturally but the
more you do this, the better you will become. However, do get coaching and honest feedback
along the way, to ensure that you are consolidating good habits rather than setting bad ones
into the stone.
7. Start with the slides and then decide what you’re going to say about them.
Most people start with the 376 PowerPoint slides and build their message around that. When
planning your content, go analogue: decide your subject, key message, content. Then, and only
after you’ve decided what you’re going to say, decide if you need slides at all. A quote, a story
or a prop may be more effective.

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When Presentations are a Plus

2 When Presentations are a Plus
Sometimes a one to one is far more effective than dragging a whole group of people into a room. If that’s
the way to be more persuasive then ditch the auditorium and the audio visual tricks.
Often, people are asked to present what amounts to data: this is usually information to keep people updated
that calls for no call to action other than ‘carry on’. Save time, either send a memo or distribute a report.

2.1

Suggested scenarios for presentations

Examples of the kind of scenarios that technical experts may find themselves being called on to present
could include:
• Persuading shareholders to continue investing despite not meeting projected profits
• To encourage resellers and distributors to push certain products
• To ‘sell’ new software to the press for magazine coverage
• Convincing business leaders to increase investment in IT processes to meet customer
experience goals
• To strike home the importance of health and safety onsite to a culturally diverse labour force
• Push certain projects to cost centres within a company rather than have the financial outlay
centralised.

2.2

What’s in it for you?
• Easier team working as other people actually understand your role and how you can help
each other;
• You can spread ideas and good practice
• By raising your profile, you get become regarded as the go-to person in your area.
• It’s a great way to rally support for your projects and teams
• Presentations are an effective way to pre-empt one to one’s with people you wouldn’t
otherwise have the opportunity to impart your ideas to.
• When it goes well, it’s fantastic for morale – yours and everyone else’s.

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Preparation and Planning

3 Preparation and Planning
3.1

Defining the Subject

This might have been given to you, but sometimes this can be very unspecific.
For example: You’ve been told to present on The TK-V11 Anti Virus Software to distributors
This is too broad. It’s like saying ‘Write an essay on engines’. Where do you start? So narrow the subject
down.
In this example, the TK-V11 is a recently modified piece of software. You also know your competitors
are trying to nudge into your market. A more tangible subject heading may be:
‘The TK-V11 – What’s hot and how it burns the competition’
Then, you’d be looking at the new features and their benefits to emerging as well as existing technology
to show that you’re ahead of the game.
When you look further into your audience profile, you may need to go back and tweak this but for now,
we’ll move on and hone in on the relevant factors in your audience profile.

3.2

Audience and Situation Profile

As the presentation will be outlining the benefits – from the point of view of your audience – you need
to define your audience so your message hits the spot. The more accurate your audience profile, the
more relevant to their needs you can make your content.

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Preparation and Planning

Here are some of the factors that you need to consider:
Audience

Situation

Level of knowledge

Seating arrangements

Roles

Projectors (front lit/back lit?)

Level within organisation

Laptop (cables and connectors)

Find the Pain Points

Laser Pointers

Voluntary/Mandatory attendance

Software (PowerPoint?)

Culture (corporate/national)

Microphones (on lectern/earpiece/hand-held?)

Audience’s expectations

Other speakers

Number of people

Time (duration)

Key decision makers

Time of Day

Do they know you or each other?

Food and drinks before or during speech?

Organisational activities and aims

Room conditions (air conditioning/lighting?)

www.job.oticon.dk

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Preparation and Planning

Not every single one of the above factors might be a consideration for all presentations but many of
them could have any impact on what you talk about and your delivery.
Who do you think you’re talking to?
You don’t need to know every audience member’s exact requirements and with a larger number of people,
it is unlikely that you will. However, there are general pieces of information that will help you sway the
people that you need on your side.
It doesn’t take as long as you think to go through this list. In fact, you could make a cup of tea, look on
the website, make a few calls and possibly have a peek at LinkedIn, and the cup will still be warm and
the tea unfinished by the time you’ve completed your audience profile.
3.2.1

Level of knowledge

You can get a good feel about the audience’s level of knowledge from their job titles. If you have a list of
the participants, looking them up on LinkedIn or Google+ will give you insights into their experience
and interests.
3.2.2Roles
In a presentation workshop I led for British Aerospace the delegates were speaking to an audience split
between Business Development and Legal roles. There are two contrasting mind-sets embodied in this
audience. Business Development has more of a ‘towards’ mind-set, looking for opportunities and openings
whereas the Legal team were listening out for risks and ways to prevent difficulties, reflective of more
of an ‘away from’ mentality. Both of these concerns needed to be addressed to keep the audience on the
side of the speaker.
3.2.3

Levels within organisation

Senior management tend to be more interested in the bigger picture: competitors, profit and market
share whereas middle managers will be more interested in processes and ‘how tos’. A flatter organisation
may have a more autonomous outlook, motivated by opportunities for entrepreneurialism or teamwork.
Nowadays, it is not unusual for people to be presenting to those 6 levels up the ladder. Rae Gorin Cook
asked top executives at six large companies how people could present more effectively to them. The
overwhelming response was simple: keep it candid and short.
Often you’ll be presenting to a mix of levels, so always have a shorter version ready, one where you
can ditch the stories and drop the pictures. The senior management audience can be ruthless about the
content so be prepared to adapt and you’ll come out shining.

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3.2.4

Preparation and Planning

Find the Pain Points

The organiser will usually tell you what the concerns and interests are of the group. One presenter I know
was asked to address the process behind a strategic roll-out. The audience would have received him so
coldly that he decided to ask them what they felt about the impending change only to discover that on
the same morning, half of the audience had just been given the choice between relocating to another
country or taking voluntary redundancy.
There was really no point in presenting on a process that nobody wanted to hear that day. In the end,
the presenter used the forum as a way to collate concerns and feed it back to senior management. He
later returned to give a refined version of the original message, with an audience ready to receive it.
If the audience is not ready to receive your message, it’s like talking to the wall. On the other hand,
showing that you care for their pain can be your gain.
3.2.5

Number of People

The smaller the number, the more interactive the presentation can be as it’s easier to maintain more focus.
3.2.6

Voluntary/Mandatory Attendance

If people have chosen to pay $3,000 to come and see you, their expectations will generally be higher than
if it was $20. If they have been forced to attend, your audience may seem resistant, if it doesn’t show in
the fact that they’re typing on their laptops as you speak, it may well do so in the closed body language.
If you’ve made your way there, demand attention: set the boundaries and sell the benefits. Otherwise,
just go home and send them an email.
3.2.7Culture
Whether you can expect a more casual or starchy environment will help you adapt your delivery and
expectations. National culture also plays an important role. For example, if you present to a senior
management team in Japan, and they start asking you questions, it can mean, ‘go and rethink’. In Britain,
it may denote interest. Go to India and the audiences may be extremely vocal whereas in certain parts
of North and Eastern Europe, you’ll know they’re interested because they’re still in the room.
Of course, there are variables that depend on how international the company is, the generation to which
you are presenting and the context of the talk but knowing the national culture will help you if deal with
the unfamiliar so that it is not unexpected. So if you have references to national politicians and rugby,
you’d better make sure that your audience knows what you mean, otherwise find a way of illustrating
your point in a way with which people can identify.

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Preparation and Planning

3.2.7.1 Culture and Clothing
Clothing comes into its own here. As a woman presenting in the Middle East in summer, covered arms
down to the elbows and long skirts were the safest bet. One company I worked with in the UK, who were
very casual, complained that a consultant that they’d brought in to present to them looked as casual as
them. They’d expected him to wear a suit. “We’re paying him because he’s not like us. He knows more
and he to look the business,” remarked one of his disgruntled delegates. It’s worth asking the organisers
“What do the audience know about me and what are their expectations?” This will help you look the part.
3.2.8

Key Decision Makers

If they’re not in the room, then think about what your action point should be. It could be that your
impact in the room will remotely influence the decision makers so make it very clear what you expect
from your audience with a sound audience benefit that compels them to deliver to your call.
3.2.9

Do they know you or each other?

If they know each other, the audience will possibly be more comfortable speaking out so the Q & A
may well be livelier than if they were strangers to each other, in which case you could ask for questions
before the session or plant them in the audience, either by using a colleague to ‘break the ice’ or asking
a few yourself that audiences tend to put forward.

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3.2.10

Preparation and Planning

Organisational Activities and Aims

The objectives of those to whom you are speaking are not necessarily in line with those of your
department or company. For example, the quality control system in place is very easy for those in your
teams to apply. However you wish to make procedures more rigorous, and this will entail an increase
in workload. Within this gap, you’ll find the benefit that will strike the audience. This may be that they
will be preventing accidents, thereby increasing safety. It could be that the quality control procedures
will actually decrease the number of complaints and time spent dealing with product recalls. Find the
positive and emphasise it.
3.2.11

Seating arrangements

a) Cabaret style






The problem with this arrangement is that people will find it easier to talk to each other. However, the
presenter that comes down off the stage, if there is one and wanders around the tables, or at least towards
the nearest ones, will be more likely to grab and keep the attention of others.
b) Theatre style
______________ ______________
______________ ______________
______________ ______________
Theatre style seating will ensure that all eyes are on you. There will be less interaction with other members
of the audience than with cabaret style above. The risk is that those at the back could feel excluded. Also,
you may find that questions from difficult people – as opposed to difficult questions – can also come
from the rear of the room. By moving up the aisle, even if it’s only a few rows up, you’ll mitigate this
issue. To find more about why this is, flick to the section on ‘Managing the Question and Answer Session’.
You can move back down to the front again but if this feels to exposing, eye contact and any references
you can make to friendly faces at the back (see Spices PAGE 28), will help you build a connection with
those who are at a physical distance from you.

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Preparation and Planning

c) The Horseshoe

The Horseshoe is beneficial for keeping focus on you, whilst also aiding interaction between audience
members. This is particularly useful for exploring issues, problem solving and idea creation.
d) The Three-Wall Plenary

The Three-Wall Plenary is a convenient arrangement when your audience is expected to take notes.
It will automatically induce a formal tone and because there is a table between you and the audience
and between members of the audience, there is a risk of this set-up encouraging more confrontational
behaviour. To avoid this issue, you can:
a) invite others to present
b) find opportunities to bring people to the front, for example, by collating ideas on a flip
chart.
c) have people working in pairs or small groups.
If you encourage them to work with those positioned on other tables, you will mix the dynamics up,
preventing any form of power play that may arise, especially likely if on the presenter’s left or in front.

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3.2.12

Preparation and Planning

Projectors (front lit/back lit?)

One Senior Marine Project Engineer, presenting on Partnership Coordination had his slides beaming
brightly on his forehead. He looked like a modern art installation, which was fascinating, for all the wrong
reasons. Know where your light is and where it’s coming from so you don’t burn a hole in your head.
3.2.13

Laptop (cables and connectors)

Letitia (not her real name), a CEO from a highly successful IT start up, appeared to deliver the keynote
speech at a massive conference, only to find the cables provided did not connect between her jazzy
multi-media presentation sat quietly on her laptop and the venue’s projector. Luckily, she had a Plan
B. She cleared away the Geek Squad around her, who were trying in vain to connect mismatched
sockets, and delivered a stunning presentation without a single slide, with the aid of the Spice Rack™
on PAGE 28. Your arsenal of spares may vary, but could include the following:
a) a presentation on a .zip drive
b) spare hard drive
c) CD-roms with audio-visual slides and music files
d) remote microphone
e) speakers for music to set the tone as they audience come in.

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Preparation and Planning

Remember to keep any music, video and graphics files you might be using, with your main presentation,
to avoid the panic of forgotten files.
3.2.14

Laser Pointers

When showing intricate pieces of design, such as showing connectors in piping or cables, laser pointers
are commonly used. They are usually waved around so the eye plays a sort of ‘follow the dot’ game,
which often feels like an eye test by a mad optician. If the speaker is nervous and uses the laser pointer
at the beginning, we’ll see this with laser.
The laser can be best used to circle around a specific area then hone in to an even smaller section. This
would be beneficial when your audience is close to the screen. Otherwise, your most effective approach
would be to boldly zoom in on the specific area, or show a separate close-up slide of the section
3.2.15

Software (PowerPoint?)

If you have been asked to send slides in advance, ensure your version is compatible with the software
being used at the venue.
3.2.16

Microphones (on lectern/earpiece/hand-held?)

Most of the presentations will be using earpieces or some sort of remote microphone. The first point to
remember is that often inexperienced speakers are shocked to hear their voices coming back to them in
amplified form. The best way to ensure you’re relaxed with this is to buy a cheap, hand-held microphone
and connect it up to an amplifier (I bought a second-hand one for £25.00) or you can plug it into most
stereo systems. Buying a hand-held will give you the practice you need if you ever find yourself standing
there with one. Have some fun with it but make sure the neighbours are out!
Once you’re passed hearing your voice larger than life, the only challenges that remain are microphones
that are attached to lecterns or hand-held ones:
3.2.17

Lectern Microphone:

Moving helps to diminish nerves and signpost changes in your topic. This is restricted, as is your impact,
if you are shielded behind a lectern. I always ask for a remote microphone and for someone to push
the lectern aside. No-one has refused this request yet and it heightens engagement with the audience.
3.2.18

Hand-held Microphones

Many of us have experienced the nervous wedding speech, given by a speaker waving the microphone
in front of their chin, like a fan. If you are going to be saddled with a hand-held, a rare situation these
days, then make sure you’ve practised.

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3.2.19

Preparation and Planning

Other speakers

If there are other speakers presenting contrasting arguments you may wish to know where they’ll be in
the running order. If you are after them, find out their positioning so that you can address issues that
may be contentious. Referring lightly to content with other presenters that either precede or follow you
is unusual looked upon favourably by conference organisers as it provides a cohesion to the whole event.
It is also beneficial if you are thinking of networking with the other speakers, as you may want to speak
with them beforehand so that you can reinforce each other’s messages.
3.2.20

Time (duration)

If you have a 60 minute presentation slot, prepare enough material for 40 minutes to allow for 20 minutes.
If you finish earlier, which presenters rarely do, audiences regard this very favourably. When presenting
to senior executives, always prepare a 5–10 minute version of your presentation. Look at P.39 – The
PROEP model – to see how you can compact your ideas into such a narrow timeslot.
3.2.21

Time of Day

Presenting at a breakfast meeting? Keep it upbeat and informal. Content rich presentations are best in the
10-11.30 slot. Keep it short and sweet before lunch before people start listening to their stomachs more
than to you. My personal favourite is the graveyard slot, that is, the slot after lunch. At conferences, they
still put the ‘heaviest’ speakers on at this time, when the audience is fighting to keep eyes open. Frankly,
it’s the green light for anything goes: use break outs, questions to the audience, stories or any ‘spices’.
Look at the Spice Rack™ on PAGE 28 to learn how to engage with your audience by doing less work!
Late afternoon is another time for the short and sweet talk as people are thinking about traffic and an
evening slot could be more casual than a mid-morning one, especially if drinks are thrown in.
3.2.22

Food and drinks before or during speech?

If you are presenting at midday and your audience has a buffet sitting behind them, this may be hard
for them to concentrate. You may want to do an informal session, so you are not competing with your
audience’s appetites for attention. If there’s alcohol being served at lunch, be prepared to have to work
your audience a little more afterwards!
3.2.23

Room conditions (air conditioning/lighting?)

One presentation I did was at a venue in Istanbul on Motivational Learning. It was 40 degrees Celsius and
the air-conditioning had broken down. Opening the windows helped a little but frequent water breaks,
and a shorter presentation made the experience more comfortable. No matter how wonderful you are, if
you don’t attend to basic needs of ventilation in stuffy rooms, comfort breaks and adequate lighting, you
won’t get a connection with your audience so address these first, if you want the audience on your side.

21
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Techie Talks

3.2.24

Preparation and Planning

Where do I get all this information?

1. Google Alerts can help you to locate press activity, particularly useful for tracking
competition, and pain points
2. LinkedIn enables you to follow companies and individuals and tracks activity
3. Look on websites, corporate brochures
4. Call the organisers: simple, quick and often forgotten way of accruing most of your
information
5. Other presenters, some of whom may be more familiar with the organisation

3.3

Set the Key Message/Audience Motivator

By the time you’ve looked at your audience, and picked out what they’ll need to know about the subject,
you’ll know how they’ll be benefitting from your information. This is the Key Message (or ‘Motivator’).
It pinpoints what the audience will be getting out of your talk, and appeals to their emotions. All your
content will tie in with the Key Message – anything that doesn’t is irrelevant.
The following list of motivators/key messages for presentations is derived from Dorothy Leeds’ book
‘Power Speak’, who based her list on Abraham Maslow’s Hierarchy of Human Needs. This list could go
on and on but I’ve shortened it to the motivators that are most pertinent in a business context.

The Wake
the only emission we want to leave behind

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Techie Talks

Preparation and Planning

Twenty Motivators for your Audience
1. To make money
2. To save money
3. To save time
4. To avoid effort
5. To gain comfort
6. To improve health
7. To escape pain
8. To be popular
9. To gain praise
10. To conserve our possessions
11. To increase our enjoyment
12. To satisfy curiosity
13. To protect our family
14. To avoid criticism
15. To avoid trouble
16. To take advantage of opportunities
17. To be individual or unique
18. To protect our reputation
19. To gain control over aspects of our lives
20. To be safe
Any presentation may have one or two key benefits to the audience. If you’ve an audience of innovators,
being unique may be important. Speaking to Marketing? Then emphasising reputation may be what you
choose to emphasise.

3.4

Easy structuring of the content

3.4.1

Ideas for achieving the goal: explore possibilities, research.

Speak to others and realise that ideas might pop into your head when you aren’t actively thinking about
them.
Ideas are like leaves in the wind: if you don’t catch them before they fly by, they’re gone and they’ll fly
by when you least expect it: when you’re dusting, sitting in a meeting, walking the dog….
I’d recommend carrying a small index card around, that you can stuff in your pocket or bag. When a
thought hits you draw a mini mind-map, adding a branch here, a leg there. Before you know it, you’ve
planned without having to set any time aside to do it. You can download your sample mindmap and a
blank one for your own use here.

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3.4.2

Preparation and Planning

Hit them where it hurts

You need a balance of the analytical – facts, data, evidence – and the emotion. The emotion is in conviction
of your delivery, the stories you tell, props you use and images you bring. The full list is in Chapter Four.
The reason for this is that although the numbers will convince, we’re ultimately stirred into action by
emotion, a concept that Chip and Dan Heath wrote about in their book, ‘Switch: How to Change Things
When Change Is Hard’. They picked on a Deloittes survey that analysed the decision making process
of 400 people in 130 companies across four continents and proved that when you hit people in the gut,
those feelings will be more likely to generate action. That means, instead of showing a bar graph of the
costs of having 15 different suppliers for safety helmets, throw the identical safety helmets on the board
table with all the tags showing different prices. That’s more likely to raise eyebrows: it’s visual and real,
allowing people to see and feel, in both senses of the word: the helmets and the emotions when they realise
one helmet costs $10 and the exact same next to it, $50, thereby leaking money through a very big hole.
3.4.3

Set the Structure – Start with the Middle
• Do like the Ancient Greeks and Romans: start with the middle of the presentation. This will
lead you on to the end and then you’ll know how to begin because you’ll know what you’re
talking about!
• By using a Mind Map, you’ll break down what might seem like an enormous chunk of work
into bite size pieces. By going through sections of your presentation at different times, you
can fit in your practice time easily. If you find it easier to work with the detail, rather than
drilling down from a big picture, use post-its that revolve around your subject and key
message, then slap them on the wall. Soon you’ll find around 3 main topics that fit your key
message and you can throw away any points that don’t fit.
• Marking your points on the mind map avoids writing out vast chunks that you try to
memorise. You now have a picture of your entire presentation, and you’ve mapped out the
landmarks in the road. It’s also easier to swop, add or delete sections.
• Determine three main points and supporting points. We tend to remember information in
threes, and the number of supporting points you cover can vary according to how much
time you have.
• Using the Spice Rack™ on PAGE 28 will make your information more engaging – for you
and the audience.

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3.4.4

Preparation and Planning

End with a punchy Conclusion

• You’ll need to round up your three key points, and your slant on those points. For example,
imagine you’re selling your luxurious hotel to tour operators. You choose to talk about the
location, accommodation and facilities. You might summarise your points thus:
‘Now you know about the exotic location and the gorgeous villa with its plethora of opportunities
to indulge and explore.’
• Remind the audience what the key message is. This is a rephrased version of what you’ll
write in the opening. To continue the example from above, the key message here might be
phrased as follows:
‘This hotel could not be better suited to attract your clients: clients with discretion and spending
power.’ (You’re implying profit margins here – a strong key message).

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