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A tweetable speech

Cutting up your speech into 140-character Tweets

A few nights ago, I was asked to deliver a speech at a Media Aces dinner on what makes a great presentation.  Below is a resume of what I said, but the point I wanted to highlight, thanks to a comment by Fadhila Brahimi — a master presenter who is speaking at TEDx Algiers in April 2011 — was the idea that, as you speak, consider the sound bytes you deliver as Twitterable tweets.  There are two key notions that make this concept worth bearing in mind:

  1. From a pedagogical standpoint, the idea of a marked 140-character phrase can help anchor the thought, especially if you repeat the key phrase for emphasis.
  2. From a new-age digital media standpoint, with the increasing numbers of twitterati, you can help the amplification of your presentation if you deliver sharp, crisp phrases that can be tweeted out.

What makes a great presentation?

So, here is the resume of what I believe makes a great presentation.

First, I must start at the beginning.  Open with a meta statement, an epithet or catchall phrase (i.e. less than 140 characters) that basically captures the essence of your speech and which will provide a backbone to the entire corpus.  In my case, my opener was : “Great presentations come in three’s.

  1. Great presenting is like great teaching.  Pedagogical skills are very important in making a lasting impression in a presentation.  For example, make it interactive to allow for more social learning.  Storytelling is another great technique.  Use the technological tools as a teaching support, not as a crutch.  Slides (if there must be slides) cannot double as useful handouts.  Another example: be focused on your audience — be in their chairs.  Feel their energy.
  2. Confidence is the core building block of a great presenter. You must therefore dedicate the time to building that confidence, creating the right environment for success.  Allow the time for the proper preparation. Make sure you understand the brief and know as much as possible about the client / audience. Beyond confidence — and helping to reinforce one’s self-assurance on stage — is the mastery of the content.  Once the content is solid, you focus on the context, or the style of the presentation.
  3. Less is More.  Three key words to delivering a great presentation. Yes, don’t try to overkill in delivering a fully comprehensive presentation.  Make three meta or major points.  No more.  Tell them what you are going to tell them.  Tell them.  Then tell them what you told them.   Three steps.  The brain feels much more comfortable trying to remember three points.  If you manage to get the audience to remember one of those three points, six months down the line, then you should consider your presentation a success.  And, under the banner of ‘less’ I would also add the use of silence, the power of the pause.

The more I wrote this post, the more I thought about how blog posting could also do with more “tweetable quotes,” too.  What are your thoughts?

ADDENDUM 14/3/2011: It appears that the comments section for this particular post is NOT working. Am trying to figure out the case. If you care to contact me directly, please send a mail to DIALMINTER (all one word) at GMAIL dot COM!

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