A couple of weeks ago I listened to the BBC Radio 4 interview with Dame Judy Dench, as part of their anniversary of 60 years of radio news.
Dame Judy spoke about what she had learned over her sixty years career.
She told a story of how she played Ophelia in Shakespeare’s play Hamlet in her early twenties.
Ophelia was mad, and Dame Judy, in her own words, explains how she over acted, throwing the ‘kitchen sink’ at the role to demonstrate Ophelia’s madness!
She now says some sixty years later she would play the role in a more measured way, and still get the message across of Ophelia’s madness.
“Less is more“ according to Dame Judy Dench
Great actors are always reducing their script, as they realise they can with a gesture, look, or body movement, impart the message more effectively than words can.
Listening to this interview reminded me of how lots of my clients initially want to tell their audience everything about their organisation, in the hope that one of their messages will stick.
I am prompted, required even, to deliver the same message as Dame Judy
‘Less is More’ …
In sessions with Aristo we often start with 40+ slides for a 45-minute presentation (roughly a slide a minute) and finish with 8/10 slides – far more manageable and engaging for both speaker and audience.
The best presentations (in my view) have no slides, or very few.
I believe you cannot make more than three key messages in a presentation, and, ideally, I strongly suggest you only deliver one key message.
This message can be supported by facts, evidence, stories and examples – all helping to make the key message more memorable and more likely to stick in the mind of your audience.
Getting ready for your presentation …
When beginning your preparation, do not start with a previous slide deck. Always start afresh with some blank pages and write/sketch on each of the sheets the content of the slide, remembering that your audience came to listen to you, not look at your slides.
Watch and learn from the best in your organisation, or study speakers who you know have the ability to deliver an effective message.
Simon Sinek’s TED Talk ‘Start with WHY’ (35 m views) – has no slides. Just a flip chart, still the most effective and immediate communications tool for a presentation.
How do I prepare …
To prepare you need to answer these questions, being as specific as possible.
- Who’s your audience:
Write down a person’s name, not an organisation.
- Problem / Opportunity:
What is the problem/opportunity ‘story you wish to tell’, to engage this person?
- Close …
How will this person be better after listening to you and taking your advice?
Create DESIRE in 3 easy steps – Here’s how you do that:
- Firstly, help the person to realise they lack what you can offer them.
- Get their agreement.
- Then paint a picture in words, so they can fully visualise the benefit of what you are offering.
e.g. “I see you talking to an audience of 500 in an entertaining and engaging presentation.”
If you or your company have trouble getting people to DESIRE your idea or products, talk to me. I can help you with that …