How to Make Anything Interesting – 5 Rules

August 8, 2011

in Fit Focus Flair, Presentation Content, Writing your presentation

I once bought a book by Edward de Bono, called ‘How to be Interesting’.  It wasn’t.  But it’s a great title isn’t it?  Why might someone as fascinating as me buy a book like that? Well, it’s simple, I was seeking an answer to all of the questions I’d been asked around ‘how do you make a ‘dull’ subject interesting?’

The simple reply to such challenges is that there’s no such thing as a ‘dull’ subject, but that’s not much help really is it?  So after years of research and trial and error, here are my ideas for how to make something – anything, interesting:

  1. Be relevant– if the people in the audience need a hand, a lifeline or a sandwich, make sure you’ve got one for them.  In reality though all people usually need is to be shown how a better understanding of your subject will help them be more successful in their life and work.
  2. Be clear– Hints seldom work.  If there’s something that you want them to know, understand and do, tell them really clearly what those things are and why they’re important to them (not you).
  3. Be brief– Shakespeare told us that ‘Brevity is the soul of wit’ (meaning intelligence, in this case).  It also helps people to understand if there’s less ‘clutter’ so tell  the story simply and clearly and prompt questions rather than attempting to cover every possible question they might have.
  4. Add fascinating facts, figures and examples– People like to be shocked, stunned and amazed by relevant facts, figures and examples that help you to prove the point you’re trying to make.  Remember when you heard an amazing statistic or story?  What did you do?  You probably wrote it down, remembered it and passed it on when you got home or met friends. – A great one I heard recently was at the start of a sales presentation for some medication dispensing control software for use in hospital pharmacies- The fact? That more people die from incorrect drug treatment in hospital, due to incorrectly labelled medication; than die on the roads each year.  Amazing? Memorable? Frightening? Yes.  And as a ‘bridge’ into the relevance of the subject and product to the audience? Brilliant.
  5. Use simple tricks of the speaker and writer’s trade- I’ll list them here and offer you the following post link for more information and help. Alliteration, quotation, rhetorical flourishes, story structure, visual imagery, metaphor, prologue and epilogue.
That’s all you need to do to make even the ‘dull’ ; and more importantly, the speaker, shine. (Metaphor and extended metaphor)

This is a part of my Fit, Focus & Flair model. To be great, a presentation must be a perfect FIT for the situation; the content must have complete FOCUS on it’s purpose and message; and it must have enough FLAIR to stand out on the day, and in our memories. Learn more about developing your Fit, Focus and Flair.

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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