Delivering your presentation

The three line presentation strategy for the brave speaker- how brave are you?

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As a guy who works with lots of big corporates, writing speeches, rehearsing speakers for big pitches and presentations, I’m forever coming up against the ‘Template Trial’.  The corporate PowerPoint outline which everybody must use when creating presentations; but which creates real problems for the speaker who actually wants to use them in support of their speech.

Of course the corporate template provides ‘brand synergy across all communications’, I respect and understand that, but the problem is, that most of them are rubbish as visual aids.  Most of them are designed as templates for written documents, and as Nancy Duarte or Garr Reynolds, or I might say-

‘’Good hand-outs always make poor visual aids, and good visual aids always make poor hand-outs…’’

What’s the solution? A three-line strategy.  It’s as simple as that. Here it is-

If you want to present a written document, why not just hand it out and let the audience read it for themselves, at their own pace?  Then your presentation will consist of 3 lines-

  1. ‘Here’s what I want you to read… wait while the bemused crowd reads.  Then-
  2. Any questions
  3. Have a safe journey home.’

It’s a risky, but honest, strategy, and at least you’ll get the whole thing over much more quickly than the alternative- the common and dreaded- ‘supervised reading event’. You know the score, the presenter chucks loads of text onto a screen and reads it out to the oh so patient people there.

If you’re a speaker, try it next time, or at least a variation on the theme.

  • You give a 5- minute overview of the ‘highlights’ and even provoke questions by leaving import bits of detail out.
  • You give them time to think and read and write down questions or challenges
  • You ask for the questions, respond and a conversation begins.

Much better.


Jim Harvey

Jim Harvey

Managing Director at The Message Business
Jim is the MD of The Message Business, a company which helps FTSE 100 companies to sell themselves, and their products better. Speech writer, Prezi trainer and designer, coach and consultant, Jim also finds time to be a proud father and husband.
Jim Harvey
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