3 Ways to Prepare a Presentation Quickly
“All great speakers were bad speakers at first.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
It is the day before your big speech and you are not nearly done developing and practicing it. What can you do?
Use mind-mapping to uncover and organize your ideas quickly, make it simple for yourself and your audience to follow your presentation by using three main points, and craft great openings and closings fast.
Use Mind-Mapping to Uncover and Organize Ideas Quickly
You may be a linear thinker and don’t think you need to see how your ideas fit together. However, whether you are linear thinker or not, you can generate more ideas quickly using mind mapping. So what is mind mapping.
From Mindmapping.com – Mind mapping is a highly effective way of getting information in and out of your brain. Mind mapping is a creative and logical means of note-taking and note-making that literally “maps out” your ideas.
All Mind Maps have some things in common. They have a natural organizational structure that radiates from the center and use lines, symbols, words, color and images according to simple, brain-friendly concepts. Mind mapping converts a long list of monotonous information into a colorful, memorable and highly organized diagram that works in line with your brain’s natural way of doing things.
The Five Essential Characteristics of Mind Mapping are:
1. The main idea, subject or focus is crystallized in a central image
2. The main themes radiate from the central image as ‘branches’
3. The branches comprise a key image or key word drawn or printed on its associated line
4. Topics of lesser importance are represented as ‘twigs’ of the relevant branch
5. The branches form a connected nodal structure
How to Make a Mind Map:
1. Think of your general main theme and write that down in the center of the page (e.g.. Food)
2. Figure out sub-themes of your main concept and draw branches to them from the center, beginning to look like a spider web (e.g.. Meats, Dairy, Breads)
3. Make sure to use very short phrases or even single words
4. The branches comprise a key image or key word drawn or printed on its associated line
5. Topics of lesser importance are represented as ‘twigs’ of the relevant branch
How to Make a Mind Map:
1. Think of your general main theme and write that down in the center of the page. i.e. Food
2. Figure out sub-themes of your main concept and draw branches to them from the center, beginning to look like a spider web i.e. Meats, Dairy, Breads
3.Make sure to use very short phrases or even single words
4.Add images to invoke thought or get the message across better
5.Try to think of at least two main points for each sub-theme you created and create branches out to those
Use Three Main Points Always
From Potent Speaking on why you should use three main points in your presentation:
It is simpler for the audience. Modern audiences are not easy to keep engaged. With a low attention span and a general disinterest in most speeches, you’ve got to do all you can do make your speech easy to digest. In most contexts, people won’t be writing down your points. It’s hard for people to remember more than 3 main points, especially if you don’t have much time to spend on them.
Your points are usually not as clear as you think. People who use too many points often have to speed through their speech in order to fit everything. This means the audience usually won’t be able to digest your points or get a full understanding of them. Speechwriters have already studied the subject for a while before they start writing their speech. By that time, they are pretty familiar with it. As a result, they usually do not have an accurate view of how to explain it to someone else. I call this problem prior knowledge bias : when you think you explained something well because you already get it, but other people are just confused.
It’s easy to go overtime. When you have more than 3 points, it becomes harder to keep track of time and apportion it properly. You’ll often end up rushing the last couple of points or going overtime. There are few things worse than going longer than your allotted time. It’s disrespectful to the audience. Think about it: all those people in the crowd are actually there to hear you speak. They have agreed to sit down quietly and listen to what you have to say for a set period of time. Going overtime is like buying super expensive food because someone else is picking up the tab
It helps you do deeper analysis. If you spend more time on each point, you can develop them better. Give more reasons why they are true, or read more quotes, or show more PowerPoint images. You will have more success trying to convince the audience of 3 things with deep analysis than convincing them of 4+ points with shallow analysis.
It helps you avoid weak points. When you try to include too many points in your speech, you’ll often end up including points that are not particularly persuasive or helpful. This is a matter of quantity over quality.
Develop and Present a Great Opening s Closings
There have been a multitude of studies performed about what audience members remember from presentations. The results are in. Audience members remember beginnings and endings. So what does this tell you? Your presentation openings and closings have to be memorable to make your presentation memorable. In fact, if you have mini openings and mini closings to your main points, the audience will even remember more of what you said. Some examples of openings and closings are:
Stories – Everyone loves a good story. Before there were iPhones, Snapchat, television, newspapers, radio, the telephone, the telegraph, and carrier pigeons, there were stories. I am sure you have seen prehistoric etchings on the walls of caves. Those etchings once told a story and enthralled other human beings at one time.
Quotes – Quotes are powerful because they make us take a mental break and think. My favorite quotes are those from world leaders throughout the ages – George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Winston Churchill, to name a few. Don’t know any famous relevant quotes? Google the word “quotes” and the subject of the quotes and you will get more quotes than you can possibly use.
Statistics – Statistics can immediately change how people think about things. For instance, most people think suicide rates actually skyrocket around Christmastime. In reality, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) reports that suicide rates are actually lowest in December. The suicide rate actually peaks in the Spring, not the Winter. Statistics are powerful. However, always make sure they are relevant to your presentation.
Humor – Earl Nightingale said, “The only requirement for a speaker is to be interesting.” Laughing actually opens yours and your audience’s minds because when we laugh, we will be open to more ideas from others. The author Norman Cousins actually helped cure himself of a terrible sickness by watching videotapes of comedian teams like The Three Stooges, Laurel and Hardy, and Abbott and Costello.
Rhetorical Questions – Rhetorical questions, of course, are questions not meant to be answered by your audience. They are questions that provoke thought such as “Have you ever thought about how your heritage affects your point of view?” or “What should be humanity’s goal?” or “If you could teach the entire world just one concept, what would it be?” These questions open the minds of your audience and provide you with multiple paths in which to take your presentation.
A Personal Experience – Audiences love to hear about your personal experiences. It makes you human and approachable. A personal foible of yours will be particularly loved by your audience. Experiment and don’t be afraid to poke fun at yourself. The rewards from this are numerous.
So, on the day before your big speech, don’t fret. Rev up your engine by uncovering and organizing your ideas quickly using mind mapping, make it simple for yourself and your audience by sticking to three main points and craft great openings and closings fast by using stories, quotes, statistics, humor, rhetorical questions, or a personal experience.
You’ll be glad you did and you will “hit a home run” with your presentation.
“The right word may be effective, but no word was ever as effective as a rightly timed pause.” – Mark Twain
Looking for professional services to help you significantly increase your influence with your audiences? Contact DiBartolomeo Consulting International (DCI) at firstname.lastname@example.org or Office – (703) 815-1324 Cell/Text – (703) 509-4424