You suck at presentations

Given you’re reading this, you likely suck at giving presentations, Why? You bore people to death. “But I’m an interesting person” you say! - “I’m not dull!” So what are you doing wrong? You are overdoing it! You are desperate to squeeze every last drop of information into your PowerPoint deck. Your boss has only permitted you 5 slides, so you cram them. You’re like a chef throwing all the ingredients into the pot and hoping for the best.

When you overload people with information, they forget what you say. You wasted your time making the presentation, and you killed an entire room of people with your boringness. Your presentation is only as good as what people remember a week, a month or a year later. Think back to a talk that sticks out in your memory. There’s usually one memorable message you remember. Like food, the most delicious things are simple, executed exceptionally well. A burger, sushi, wagyu steak. Not a mishmash of stuff you’ve thrown into a pot.

Distil your message, and have the courage to stick to it. If you want people to remember one single thing from your presentation, what would it be? That one point is now your entire presentation. Yes, that one single point! Be ruthless! Remove, ignore, and eliminate everything that doesn’t support or reinforce that one point.

Don’t be afraid to repeat yourself. When you sound like you are repeating yourself, only then is your message getting across. Have you noticed the one single point of this piece… is to tell you to only make one single point? Ask yourself: what’s the most important thing you need to say? That’s all you need to say, the rest isn’t necessary.

“But I’ve got loads of detail I need to talk about!” Send an email afterwards (newsflash, they probably won’t read that either). Simplicity takes work. You have to ruthlessly cut and edit. Distil your presentation down to one point, and repeat that point over and over.

The structure is simple. Tell ’em what you’re about to tell ’em. Tell ’em. Then tell ’em what you just told ’em. If you’re tempted to add further points. FOR GOD’S SAKE DON’T.

So here’s what I just told you: if you want people to remember one single thing from your presentation, what would it be? Okay now, that is your presentation - that one single point. Remove everything else. The best presentations are short, simple and to the point - and stick in the mind of people for years to come.

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