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3 Components All Successful Presentations Have

3 components all sucessful presentations have


When it comes to presentation advice, everyone seems to focus on the ‘motivational dinner speech’ type of public speaking.


But as we all know, most corporate presentations are nothing of this kind: they are meant to provide an update on financials, describe a new process or explain how to use the latest software on the intranet.




How can you improve a presentation’s impact, regardless whether it’s a motivational, informative or other type of speech?


Ever wondered why Jon Oliver’s Last Week Tonight show is so successful? Any why, despite their merits, quite a few TED Talks leave you disappointed?


The secret to improvement is to realize that all successful presentations have 3 compontents, the relative proportion of which differs according to what the presentation’s goal is.


1. Information


The team meeting where you provide an update, or the legal department’s latest compliance session will have tons of information (often in the form of jam-packed slides).


If that is the only component used, the presentation will have limited impact, the same way when a motivational speaker fires everyone up in the room but fails to provide a single, factual take-away.


2. Inspiration


The problem with information-heavy presentations is that they often lack any inspiration whatsoever. As a result, they fail to trigger any behavioral change and nobody will follow up on the avalanche of facts they heard.


Storytelling is the key:use a parable, an example or a mini-story with the key information elements blended in to get your participants fired up.


3. Entertainment


This is what corporate presentations most often lack: business folks tend to think that fun has no place in the boardroom.


As long as you include sufficient amount of #1 and #2, entertainment will be the key to getting audience buy-in, trust and goodwill towards you as a speaker.




After a few weeks, people usually don’t remember much of the information they were told but they remember how the speaker made them feel.


A deep insight or a telling cartoon can do miracles, and don’t limit it to the opening of your speech.


Speaking to college students? Have 40% entertainment, 40% inspiration, 20% information. Briefing your team on the latest developments? Use 60% information, 10% inspiration, 30% entertainment. Running a training course? Include 50% information, 10% inspiration and 40% entertainment.


Missing any of the above elements is lethal: your presentation will fall flat because it’s boring, or inspiring but meaningless, or super funny yet lacks any take-away.


Before giving your next speech, make sure you are well aware which genre is expected of you – because that will determine to right proportion of information, inspiration and entertainment that you should use.


(wish to learn how to package information effectively? read Made to Stick)


Posted in Corporate communication, Public speaking

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