Presentations That Rock

Leslie Ungar asked:


At a recent meeting of your team, division, or company, you volunteered, (or were drafted) to deliver a speech: to your division, your company, or your industry.

Don’t panic . . . but do remember that the more visible you are,  the more valuable you are perceived in your firm and in your field. The PRESSURE mounts as you realize that your viability to those in attendance will result from your visibility as a speaker. Will you flop? Probably not.

The question you want to ask yourself is:  Will you convey your message in a presentation that rocks:  is entertaining, organized for listener, tells a story, shares a  common experiences and does it with Hollywood style?

To be most effective when you are presenting -whether your audience is one or 1000- you want to apply lessons learned from the movies. You might be thinking, I’m not an actor. Good thing because actors are not good speakers or the Oscars would not be long and boring! When I say Think Hollywood I want you to imagine your favorite movie.  A successful movie accomplishes three feats. It conveys a big picture: a war, a wedding, an ocean side village. It also conveys the details, the rain soaked street. And it tells a story which interests us because the movie makes the experiences common to the audience members. (Hence My Big Fat Greek Wedding feels to viewers like My Big Fat Italian, Irish, or Polish Wedding)

Your speech needs to succeed on those same levels, the big picture, the details, and tell a story by making experiences common to all. So you first might want to ask yourself, What do I talk about?Start by asking yourself 3 questions EVEN IF you think you know the answers. As you read through these tips you may find yourself thinking, do I need to do this EVEN IF . . . EVEN IF I was a champion debater in high school, EVEN IF I give speeches all the time,  EVEN IF I’m good on my feet. And my answer will always be YES— EVEN IF.

You are a tax attorney, so you think you are going to talk about taxes.

Ask yourself these 3 questions:

Who is my audience?

What do they want or need to know from me?

How long should I talk?

Come with me as we SUPERCHARGE  this process into three parts:


Ask yourself: a. What story do I want to tell?

                        b. Why would the audience want to hear it?

                        c. How can I tell it in a way that will benefit them?

You probably have 20 important things to say, but you need to edit and organize them into three main points.

Each main point may have several sub points, but you need to have only 3 main points.

You probably have 20 important things to say, but you need to edit and organize them into three main points. Each main point may have several sub points, but you need to have only 3 main points.

·        TELL your story in dialogue to make your material come to life. Other people’s words are more interesting than your own monologue unless you are Jay Leno.

·        Give your audience a combination of examples, facts, statistics, stories, quotes, and OK maybe an occasional humorous story.

·        Edit Edit Edit  Jerry Seinfield once said he could spend an hour reducing 8 words to 5, but those 5 would be more effective.

·        Make your experiences common to your audience. Find the common threads that will enable your audience to share each experience.


Start weeks before your due date, babies and speeches require a gestation period. Your audience make-up is important to the content of your speech. Ask your contact about the audience, their age, sex, education, perhaps their political leaning.

Write your speech for that audience, not the audience you had the last time you delivered a similar speech.

·        OPEN WITH A WOW – Don’t waste your first words on Thank You or Welcome.

·        The first words uttered by amateur speakers are, Can You Hear Me?

·        THE FIRST WORDS out of your mouth need to make an impact because they may be the only time your audience is listening to you. Get their attention then tell them what you are going to talk about.

·        Start writing your speech with the three main points that you want to make and support each point with a story, an analogy, a fact.

·        Close Hollywood style with a lasting impression because LAST WORDS LINGER


The biggest mistake you will be tempted to make is that of time. And in the world of Hollywood, timing is everything! You will be tempted to think that as long as you have your text finished by the day of your speech, you are doing well. WRONG.

·        Finish your first draft in time to practice and edit

·        Practice out loud, practicing to yourself does not count as practice

·        You have to say the words out out loud and time yourself

·        Practice in front of a mirror

·        Practice in the room where you will be speaking And be prepared to shorten your speech on a moment’s notice.

To KEEP THE PROGRAM ON TIME, YOU MAY be asked to take less time than you had been scheduled to take. Know that you can take out details without skipping a beat to the audience.

·        Write your own bio, and type it in 22 font for the person who will be introducing you. BE BRIEF



·        The microphone is your friend. YES you need a mike, YES you need to speak into the mike, and you may have the options as to what kind of mike you want

·        Be prepared for questions and answers.  when there are no questions ask yourself the first question, “a question I often get is . . . “

Now that you have taken center stage, you are ready to reap the rewards. Instead of an Oscar, you get the prize of visibility, viability, and value.

Congratulations for a job well done!

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