Content is King, But Focus is Key

When a projector is out of focus, the images on the screen are fuzzy, leaving the viewer uncertain as to what he is actually seeing. His mind darts from blur to blur trying to make sense of the shapes on the screen.

But once the projector is in focus and the images emerge crisply, the viewer feels a sense of relief.

The same holds true for the content in the beginning of a speech or presentation. No one likes to sit in a meeting room ...

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Get Your Act Together

A revival of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s The King and I opened recently at the Vivian Beaumont Theater.

Yul Brynner, the great actor who devoted much of his career to The King and I, was known to prepare for each performance by trying to push down the brick wall at the back of the theater.

If you ever saw one of his performances, you may remember his first entrance.  He burst into sight in a cloud of energy in silk pantaloons ...

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Two ways to structure a speech or presentation

I was looking for my childhood home on Google Earth, caught a glimpse of it from 30,000 feet, then zoomed in and saw my mother’s herb garden at the bottom of the lawn.

My Mom and Dad are gone now, and I saw cars I didn’t recognize in the driveway.

I knew the image was created in late fall or early winter because part of the lawn was brown: my father planted Zoisa grass in the early 1960s when he ...

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How to project authority

I had the privilege of helping a young man with a sales presentation.  He had already been delivering it for several months on behalf of his investment firm, but he thought we could tweak it.  The slide deck introduced the firm and went on to describe an alternative strategy they used to diversify client portfolios.  The flow of information was predictable—fact-based charts demonstrating degrees of correlation with other asset classes–and while informative, I suggested that it lacked dramatic structure:  ...

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Public Speaking: Reading a Script vs. Internalizing a Message

What are the pros and cons of reading a script to an audience, and what are the pros and cons of internalizing a message so that you don’t have to refer to a script?

Positives about Reading a Script

  1. Your ideas are laid out clearly–in black and white–so that you can deliver your complete message with carefully crafted words.  This is highly important in situations such as The State of the Union Address, when what you say ...
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PowerPoint Slides: A good technique

Sophisticated presenters introduce the next PowerPoint slide before they leave the current one.  They do this to orient the audience to what is coming next.

For instance, they might say at the end of their budget slide, “So our marketing budget is 10% greater than last year, and the main reason for this is the new competition in the market.”  And then CLICK! They go to the “competition” slide.

But many of us have trouble remembering what PowerPoint slide is ...

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