Tell ‘Em What You’re Gonna Tell ‘Em, Tell ‘Em…

And then tell ’em what you told them. That’s a presentation / public speaking golden rule.

The easy way to incorporate this principle into persuasive speaking is to be very explicit about all the stages of your presentation and then announce when you’re in each stage.

Here’s one reason why. While listening to someone speak the other day, I zoned out. I disengaged. When I was ready to re-engage in her talk, I didn’t know where she was — I had no guidepost — and so it was harder to know how and when to start focusing again. So, I stayed “checked-out” for the rest of her speech. My take-away: A great way to keep the attention of your audience over a longer talk is to break your speech into chunks and announce when you’re entering a new chunk, which is like offering a life raft to someone who wants to re-enter the concentration zone at the beginning of a thought, rather than in the meandering middle.

7 Responses to Tell ‘Em What You’re Gonna Tell ‘Em, Tell ‘Em…

  1. Jude says:

    A better technique, and one which I follow, is to never give a presentation that’s so boring that people zone out.

  2. David says:

    BusinessWeek had a great piece on just this, as well as some broader tips on how to give a presentation.

    Unless, of course, you hate Steve Jobs.

  3. Another suggestion: Offer your notes to the audience. Tell them where they are on your website. Or provide them as printed handouts.

    Reason for this request: I like to give a presentation my undivided attention, and I find that going on notetaking duty doesn’t allow me to do this. If you offer me your notes, I can focus on listening, then use the notes to review what you said later.

  4. Ben Casnocha says:

    Yes but pass out the notes AFTER your talk, not before!

  5. Will says:

    Being a Comm major (graduated many years ago), that was burned into our brains in every class. It has stuck with me through the years and I always remember it when I am putting together a presentation.

  6. Reply
  7. Agree with the post, Ben. Chunk it down!

    Also, share stories which insinuate the ‘negatives’ or ‘positves’ you are aiming to get across in your presentation.



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *