How to present in a concise (and interesting) way!

One of the common complaints we hear from senior managers is that their teams struggle to be concise.  They include unnecessary detail and sometimes end up missing the point entirely!

Some of them struggle to present in a concise manner, they also struggle to make their content interesting and they can really struggle to make their delivery interesting.  The tips below can be helpful to conquer all 3 issues.


Start TweetTalking

Try this exercise – write out a sentence that you plan to say in your presentation, aim to make it about 20 words.  Then, take this sentence and look at how you might get rid of 2 words.  Then, see how you might get rid of another 2 words and repeat this exercise until you have got just 10 words. Those of you who are Twitter users are probably engaging in this exercise daily!  It is wonderful for helping us to use less words but have more impact.

An added bonus of talking in tweets is that if you are at a conference, it is more likely that listeners will tweet your words of wisdom.  If you have a phrase that you want Tweeted, repeat it twice. Be sure to include your Twitter name on your first slide, your last slide and maybe on 1 or 2 others during the presentation.


Talk in your listeners’ language

Sounds really basic but if you think in terms of what they are interested in hearing – guess what?  They will be interested in listening!  Of course you are allowed to have your own message but you need to speak it in their language.


Have a Killer Start and a Killer End

If you start off well your audience will be interested in hearing what you have to say next.  When you finish, you want to leave with a bang so they will remember you and your message.

Let me give you an example.  Imagine you are giving a talk on Body Language.  One way of opening is “Good evening, my name is X and I am delighted to be here this evening to talk to you about body language..”   How original is that?

How about this – “When Steve Jobs spoke at Stanford University he touched his face repeatedly during the first few minutes. – Why?….”*  This is more likely to grab the attention.

(*The reason was that it was his first time to speak publicly about being adopted and he felt quite uncomfortable).

Cutting straight to the chase is going to get the attention of your audience.  The other huge benefit of jumping straight in is that you eliminate words that are really adding nothing to your impact.


Be congruent

To be congruent the 3 Vs need to be in sync.  The 3 Vs are, Vocal, Visual and Verbal – put another way, your tone, words and body language.  If you are talking about something being exciting, speak faster and in an excited tone.  If something is serious, drop the register and maybe slow down.  With your body language don’t forget to use your face.  There are 80 muscles there, you use them when talking naturally, why not use them in your presentations?


If you would like your team to be more concise when presenting, take a look at our in-company programmes which could help.


This article was originally published in 2016. It is updated here.