Tim Pollard is author of The Compelling Communicator: Mastering the Art and Science of Exceptional Presentation Design (2016). He is the founder and CEO of Oratium, a communications firm helping organizations from Fortune 500 companies to law offices hone their presentation and messaging skills. In his decades-long marketing career, Tim has held key positions with Barclays Bank, Corporate Executive Board and Peacemaker Ministries – a nonprofit specializing in conflict resolution. Originally from the U.K., Tim lives in Montana with his wife and four children.
Tell Big Ideas or Be Forgotten
The human brain operates at the level of ideas. It does not operate at the level of facts and data.
Research tells that 80% of the content of most presentations is lost in 24-48 hours. It’s crucial that your key big ideas can be retold later. The standard we should aim as communicators is re-tellability, it’s not good enough to be understood.
An extraordinary example of this is Eva Kor, a speaker who is a holocaust survivor. Kor usually speaks up to two or three hours, just sitting down, without eye contact, and without visual aids. But she’s the most instinctively brilliant communicator Tim has ever seen. This is because her entire lecture is organized around three ideas, the lessons she learned from being in the holocaust.
The neuroscience behind being a compelling communicator
First of all, the brain is reductionist. It stores just a few big ideas out of any presentation, talk or conversation.
The brain stores information contextually. However, the overwhelming majority of presentations have no narrative structure. They don’t create context for each idea. A story is what creates context.
How to deliver big ideas
Imagine you have a presentation that is architecturally brilliant. You’re not done yet: your delivery requires precision. Rehearsal is the key to precision. Otherwise your words will have less clear narrative.
Always find the best possible language for your idea.
“Every argument should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler.” — Albert Einstein
Why Don’t Students Like School? by Daniel T. Willingham
The Master and His Emissary by Iain McGilchrist
A Whole New Mind by Daniel H. Pink
Routine to Shine
Practice the exercises from the book “The Compelling Communicator”
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