PodiumWise | Tips for advanced presentation skills

A few days ago I watched a video claiming to reveal the “secrets” behind a well-known business speaker’s success.  The host would show a brief segment from one of this speaker’s presentations and then excitedly explain the “secret” that had just been demonstrated.

It was all quite silly.

Every “secret” was a basic concept in public speaking.  And, surprisingly, this famous speaker was not doing a great job of executing these basic concepts.

One “secret” was transitioning between the main sections in a presentation.  The famous speaker’s approach was to announce the end of a section and the beginning of a new one.   That ends x.  Now I want to talk about y.

Transitions are a non-secret requirement for maintaining a narrative flow.  And, announcing the end of one section and the beginning of another is only marginally better than no transition at all.

The best transitions create a narrative that is so seamless that a listener would have to be consciously listening for them to even notice.  In other words, one section naturally flows into the next, carrying the audience along, as in a story.

For example, a presenter who has been talking about competing economic forecasts might transition to a section on investment strategies by saying: “Each one of these economic forecasts suggests a different investment strategy.  If we were to choose to go with the most pessimistic forecast, a defensive strategy similar to what you see here (new slide) would be appropriate.”

The goal is not to obscure section changes, but to create a single, unbroken narrative.

In a way it’s like wallpaper.  When it’s hung well the patterns match and you don’t notice the seams.

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