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3 Sure-Fire Ways to Deliver Memorable Presentations

3 Sure-Fire Ways to Deliver Memorable Presentations

Have you ever heard someone deliver memorable presentations that blew you away? To the point that where the presentation was spectacular but you didn’t exactly know what made it so great? I’m sure you have. Like many things in life, there is a recipe for delivering great presentations that people will remember—just think about why people can easily remember things such as urban legends or silly jokes, but completely forget details mentioned in ground-breaking research. By using these three simple tips, you will be well on your way to delivering presentations that will stick in the minds of your listeners.

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    Tell Stories

    Stories have been around since the beginning of civilization. Most of us love a great story, which is why movies, books, and life experiences are so interesting; they tell a story. If you want to find a way to capture people’s attentions, tell a compelling story. While there are many aspects to telling compelling tales, we will keep it simple for now: when putting together your presentation, think about relevant stories that will help your points stick in the minds of listeners.  You can do this by using concrete examples.

    Concrete examples help communicate a message on a level that everyone can easily understand. When communicating an idea, you can use either abstract or concrete details. Here is a concrete illustration/story someone used that stuck in my head, so much so that I’m using it now. He said, “If you try to use a tablespoon to scoop ice cream, the spoon will bend, but if you try to use an ice cream scoop to stir tea it won’t work properly. The point is that if you are doing things that you aren’t equipped for, it can be much more challenging than if you use your strengths to your advantage.”

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    That concrete story/illustration has stuck with me for quite some time, and that story even comes to mind every time I see an ice cream scoop—proof that stories help to make ideas stick.

    Be Personable

    Being personable is probably one of the easiest, yet most overlooked, elements to delivering memorable presentations. Some of the best presenters are people who can simply be themselves: they are relaxed, can make you laugh, can mess up and play it off, and much more. By simply being yourself and not overly formal in your presentation, you can add an element that is unmatched—just be yourself and enjoy the ride.

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    Have One Main Point

    Chip and Dan Heath, the authors of Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die shared a great insight: “To say more than one thing is to say nothing”. This tells us why we don’t remember many of the presentations we hear—we don’t remember simply because there’s too much information. Now, this isn’t to suggest that you should over-simplify your message and literally only say one thing; the idea is to have one main point, and then have everything else or supporting  that main point. You can even state your point in different ways to help drive the message home. One man focus may seem like a little, but if you were faced with the option of being able to present three points only to have no-one remember any of them a few months later, or being able to present one point and have your entire audience remember it after several months, your presentation would be considered to be more successful and indelible.

    Remember to just  keep things simple. This doesn’t mean you can’t present complicated material—it just means you have to find ways to help make that information easier to understand. When information is easy to understand, it’s easier to remember. By using these three tips, your messages can resonate more with people and help you become a better presenter.

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    The Gentle Art of Saying No

    The Gentle Art of Saying No

    No!

    It’s a simple fact that you can never be productive if you take on too many commitments — you simply spread yourself too thin and will not be able to get anything done, at least not well or on time.

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    But requests for your time are coming in all the time — through phone, email, IM or in person. To stay productive, and minimize stress, you have to learn the Gentle Art of Saying No — an art that many people have problems with.

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    What’s so hard about saying no? Well, to start with, it can hurt, anger or disappoint the person you’re saying “no” to, and that’s not usually a fun task. Second, if you hope to work with that person in the future, you’ll want to continue to have a good relationship with that person, and saying “no” in the wrong way can jeopardize that.

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    But it doesn’t have to be difficult or hard on your relationship. Here are the Top 10 tips for learning the Gentle Art of Saying No:

    1. Value your time. Know your commitments, and how valuable your precious time is. Then, when someone asks you to dedicate some of your time to a new commitment, you’ll know that you simply cannot do it. And tell them that: “I just can’t right now … my plate is overloaded as it is.”
    2. Know your priorities. Even if you do have some extra time (which for many of us is rare), is this new commitment really the way you want to spend that time? For myself, I know that more commitments means less time with my wife and kids, who are more important to me than anything.
    3. Practice saying no. Practice makes perfect. Saying “no” as often as you can is a great way to get better at it and more comfortable with saying the word. And sometimes, repeating the word is the only way to get a message through to extremely persistent people. When they keep insisting, just keep saying no. Eventually, they’ll get the message.
    4. Don’t apologize. A common way to start out is “I’m sorry but …” as people think that it sounds more polite. While politeness is important, apologizing just makes it sound weaker. You need to be firm, and unapologetic about guarding your time.
    5. Stop being nice. Again, it’s important to be polite, but being nice by saying yes all the time only hurts you. When you make it easy for people to grab your time (or money), they will continue to do it. But if you erect a wall, they will look for easier targets. Show them that your time is well guarded by being firm and turning down as many requests (that are not on your top priority list) as possible.
    6. Say no to your boss. Sometimes we feel that we have to say yes to our boss — they’re our boss, right? And if we say “no” then we look like we can’t handle the work — at least, that’s the common reasoning. But in fact, it’s the opposite — explain to your boss that by taking on too many commitments, you are weakening your productivity and jeopardizing your existing commitments. If your boss insists that you take on the project, go over your project or task list and ask him/her to re-prioritize, explaining that there’s only so much you can take on at one time.
    7. Pre-empting. It’s often much easier to pre-empt requests than to say “no” to them after the request has been made. If you know that requests are likely to be made, perhaps in a meeting, just say to everyone as soon as you come into the meeting, “Look guys, just to let you know, my week is booked full with some urgent projects and I won’t be able to take on any new requests.”
    8. Get back to you. Instead of providing an answer then and there, it’s often better to tell the person you’ll give their request some thought and get back to them. This will allow you to give it some consideration, and check your commitments and priorities. Then, if you can’t take on the request, simply tell them: “After giving this some thought, and checking my commitments, I won’t be able to accommodate the request at this time.” At least you gave it some consideration.
    9. Maybe later. If this is an option that you’d like to keep open, instead of just shutting the door on the person, it’s often better to just say, “This sounds like an interesting opportunity, but I just don’t have the time at the moment. Perhaps you could check back with me in [give a time frame].” Next time, when they check back with you, you might have some free time on your hands.
    10. It’s not you, it’s me. This classic dating rejection can work in other situations. Don’t be insincere about it, though. Often the person or project is a good one, but it’s just not right for you, at least not at this time. Simply say so — you can compliment the idea, the project, the person, the organization … but say that it’s not the right fit, or it’s not what you’re looking for at this time. Only say this if it’s true — people can sense insincerity.

    Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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