Nine presentation principles for BETTER pitches, presentations, keynote and speeches.
I use these presenter principles every day. You may recognise some, and some may be new to you. Some have been inspired by Amazon or the Stoics. They're based on painful experiences. They answer a lot of questions. They guide my approach to writing, producing and performing presentations, as well as my life, business and my happiness. I hope that they help you too.
A set of simple rules for better presentations and a happier life.
01. Ditch your ego. Become audience obsessed.
The audience is the most important person in the room. Presentations must embrace the audience's point of view. Empathy and generosity are the secret weapons. Demand that every word, every sentence and every slide provides value for the audience. And if it doesn’t, ruthlessly get rid of it.
02. Every presentation must have a purpose.
A presentation needs to know where it's headed. It needs a compass, a northstar—a purpose and that purpose needs to be aligned with you, your audience and your business. A presentation without a purpose is meaningless.
03. Tell simple stories.
A presentation is a story. You can’t tell a story if you don’t know how a story works. Be obsessed with stories. Find the stories our audiences need to hear. Inspire audiences with contagious and relevant facts, figures, tales and ideas and then pack them into simple stories that they can remember and share.
04. Don’t cut corners. Do the work.
Everything gets better when you do the work. Confidence comes from the process, the practice, the research and the honest hard work of making a great presentation. Respect the audience's time and attention by putting in the work. Do the fucking work. No excuses.
05. Get to the point.
Start as close to the end as possible. Don’t waste time. Your audience will thank you for it.
06. Bias for winning without fear of failure.
Own the moment and aim to win. Every presentation is a risk, but embrace that risk. Fuck ups happen, but if they do correct, realign, improve and bounce back better and aim to win again because you will.
07. Prioritise practice.
Practice is perfect. Practice kills nerves. Hard-bake practice into your calendars. Become stronger and more confident through practice. In a world full of mediocrity, practising gives you a competitive advantage. Win more and fail less with practice.
08. Embrace authenticity.
Know who you are. Love yourself. Authenticity isn't a defect. It's a superpower. Don't hide; show yourself. Embrace flaws, dialects, and your beautiful quirks and use them to your advantage. Heavy accent? Use it! If Arnold Schwarzenegger can do it, then so can you.
09. Presento Mori - Your next presentation could be your last.
Leave the triumphs and failures of the past behind. What’s done is done: what counts lies immediately before you, not tomorrow but today. Memento Mori? Presento Mori! Your next presentation could be your last so use today to make it awesome!