Tim Pollard is author of The Compelling Communicator: Mastering the Art and Science of Exceptional Presentation Design (Conder House Press, 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 senior marketing and sales positions with Unilever and Barclays Bank. He contributes regularly to Forbes.com.
Five tools for becoming a compelling communicator
- Big ideas matter. Figure out your big ideas by asking the question – “what does my audience need to BELIEVE in order to take the action I want them to take?” The answer to that question gives you your big ideas. In life, action is preceded by belief.
- It’s important than an argument be well sequenced. To get your sequence right, for each point you make, ask “what question will this raise in my audience’s mind…?” Then answer that question. This will show you the importance of a logical sequence of ideas.
- Export your insights. Make sure you draw the conclusions coming out of your data and illustrations for the audience. If you don’t they will draw the (likely wrong) conclusions for themselves. Unfortunately, the reality is that 90% of presenters leave the audience to draw their conclusion.
- Engage the right brain. Most communication is forgotten. The way to make your argument truly sticky is to plant it in the right brain by using powerful stories, visuals and – especially – physical artifacts.
- Craft the ‘leave-behind’. Ultimately the biggest key to the stickiness and “retellability” of an argument is the document you leave behind. Dump your PowerPoint decks. People won’t re-present those. Build a document designed for retelling and watch the virus of your message spread. In practice, create a handout in one page with four or five key elements. InDesign is a great tool for this.
Related: Tell Big Ideas or Be Forgotten
“There is nothing noble in being superior to your fellow man; true nobility is being superior to your former self.” — Ernest Hemingway
The Art of Travel by Alain De Botton
Routine to Shine
Before every presentation, forget about building slides and ask yourself this question: What does my audience needs to believe in order to take the actions I want them to take?
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