We’re looking forward to meeting you at TEMC 2017; we’re excited to hear what you have to say. If you’re new to our conference (or even our industry) you might be wondering why we chose you and not a more established presenter… it might even be undermining your confidence: are you sure we’re got the right person? We are.
We’ve already read your abstract/proposal so we know you have something to say. But if you’re not sure about your messages you might be one of those people with so much to say you don’t know where to start. If that sounds familiar, here’s a few tricks you might try
There’s no single ‘right way’ to structure your presentation; you have to find what works for the message you’re trying to get across. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t a handful of time-tested structures you can’t experiment with. Here’s a few favourites
In September we will provide you with suggestions and ideas for rehearsing your presentation tips on preparing your slides
We have also arranged for you to have access to the venue on Sunday afternoon if you want to check it out.
There’s a lot of experts out there and over the years we’ve heard from just about all of them. The ones we invite back are the ones who keep thinking and learning; we like them because they’re constantly challenging themselves and us. They are always fresh.
WE LIKE FRESH.
|Are you a powerful mover and shaker?|
|Are you a famous, world-class speaker?|
|Are you a recognised expert in our field?|
|Are you a stranger or newcomer to our industry?|
|Do you have personal experience we need to hear?|
|Do you care passionately about your subject?|
|Have you got ideas and insights we haven’t heard before?|
|Do you see new connections we’ve not yet realised?|
|Do you know something we don’t?|
|Do you have some uncomfortable truths to share?|
|Can you challenge, disrupt or confront us?|
|Have you powerful life lessons everyone should hear?|
|Have you important clues to our future?|
|Are you refreshingly funny, honest or original?|
We want our audience to leave your presentation either inspired or empowered or enlightened or maybe even all of the above.
But what result do you want?
This is the very first thing to decide, before you write a single word of your presentation.
The TEMC crowd are an audience of learners, so they respond very well to people who are still in the process of discovering their topic. Whoever pretends to know it all has simply stopped learning.
At our core, we’re nerds. We like people who enjoy knowing and sharing stuff.Your audience will be curious, passionate people who believe in the importance of the work they do and are always keen to learn anything that will make them more relevant and effective change makers.
This group has been meeting for 40 years so they’ve probably heard it all – but they may not have connected all that information in quite the way that you have so they’re just as likely (if not more) to respond to a fresh context as new content. So join the dots for them in the way that makes most sense to you.
Start by identifying the most important messages first – what is it you absolutely have to say?
Try these fun exercises; what would your message be if:
Take the very best results you get from any of these exercises and experiment with different sequences till you find one that really excites you.
That’s how the really great speakers do it. Short and to the point
To help you start experimenting with the order of your messages, why not practice with a bunch of simple statements you’re likely find in some form in most of the truly great speeches… pick a few that sound good to you and try them in a few different orders to see how they flow best.
Play around with different messages to see what flows best; how do any of these sound?
When you’re ready, try the same exercise with your own messages until you get a really nice sequence of ideas that would lead your audience to your conclusion.
Write your topic in the middle of a sheet of paper.
Consider a topic most people aren’t interested in: pencils.
Surround it with the words What? Why? How? Who? Where? When? and Why Not?
Put down everything you can think of, under whatever category makes sense.
Suddenly there’s a lot of things we can talk about; who knew pencils were so interesting?
WHO invented the pencil? WHERE are they made? WHAT are they made out of?
HOW have they influenced culture? WHY does any of this matter?
Which of these questions are worth answering?
There’s something to be said for a writing technology that allows for (and even encourages) mistakes. Maybe there’s something to explore with the impact of pencils on human culture – does the erasable nature of pencils encourage experimentation and innovation?
Did the pencil somehow prepare our minds for digital technology? And it might be fun to talk about the different types of pencil (H2, HB, 6B etc) because no-one seems to know what each one is for.
Do we know who invented the pencil… and do they have an interesting life story?
Now that’s out of your head, look for the most effective starting point.
Mark it with #1. Find the next thing you want to say. Mark it #2. And so on.
Read through your ideas in the order you’ve chosen. Here I’ve started with types, so it seems natural to explore they’re made of. People might zone out if I spend too much time on that stuff so I’ll move to why this matters. Then the impact of pencils on human culture and innovation then maybe finish with the future; Pencil 2.0. Or maybe I could say something short and funny about types then go straight to why it matters. Hmmm. Maybe I’ll try a few different sequences before deciding which one works best. You can change whatever seems clumsy or unnecessary until you find a flow that works.
Now aren’t you glad you used a pencil?
No matter how carefully you’ve written your big speech, fact is most people do not remember what you say (unless you say it simply and repeatedly) but they remember how you made them feel. That’s why crafting the mood and feel of your presentation is arguably more important than what comes out of your mouth.
What mood/s do you want to create?*
Delight? Shock? Amazement? Awe? Fun? Serious? All of the above?
Imagine you had a set of magic dials that could control how your audience feels during your presentation; with a simple twist you could make them laugh, cry, yell, sing, think or storm the capital. Think about the emotional and intellectual journey you want to take your audience on; imagine their reactions exactly as you’d want them.
When should they laugh? Should they keep laughing or would you like the mood to become more serious or reflective? How long do you want to last? Would you like to dial the mood to something a little more hopeful and positive? Does that feeling increase to become downright inspiring?
Plot the journey against the duration of your presentation. When should they feel what?
Then think about the pacing; which bits are short, which are long? Which bits should be fast and punchy and which slow and profound? Do you want to give your audience a gradual build to big finish or a thrilling rollercoaster ride?
Do you think your messages could fit nicely to that plan?
Now think about all the material you could use to convey each message in a way that creates the mood you want. The world is full of stories, facts, jokes, images, statistics and quotes that could brilliantly make your point for you; why not use a few at key moments?
Let’s say we want to convey the message: WE MUST CHANGE.
You might use a charming personal story to convey that message in a funny way…or site a terrifying statisticto hammer the message in a confronting way. You could mention an intriguing experimentto present it in a curious way or borrow a famous quoteto say it in an inspiring way.