When you prepare a speech, presentation, or webinar for your clients and prospects, how do you structure your information?
Many presenters do not take the time to carefully create a structure for their information. No doubt about it, it does take time!
A well-structured and well-crafted presentation does not get written over night. Mark Twain said (partly in jest), “It usually takes more than three weeks to prepare a good impromptu speech.”
The Firehose Metaphor
But pretending that you’re offering your audience super value by ‘hitting them with the firehose’ doesn’t justify your lack of proper planning! Let’s clarify what this metaphor really means:
The pressure of water coming from a firehose usually ranges from 100 psi (pounds per square inch) to 250 psi. That enough force to knock people down and enough to cause injuries! Does that sound like great value to you? If you had a firehose pointed at you, you wouldn’t be trying to drink from it, you’d be trying to run away from it as fast as possible!
Why do you need structure?
Providing a clear structure for your message helps your audience to more easily store that information in a way that they’ll be able to evaluate it and make a decision to take action after consuming your content.
When your structure is unclear or when you don’t stick to that structure, your audience ends up with scattered bits of input that are difficult to tie together. This is typically when the audience feels overwhelmed.
For the most part, if a presenter is cramming too much information into their talk, it’s because: 1) they haven’t taken the time to select the right amount of information for the length of their talk and 2) they believe all their ideas are so important that they haven’t prioritized what they really need to tell you now versus what can wait.
Providing Great Value
There is a prevalent myth among some speakers, trainers, and information marketers that flooding their audience with lots of information means they have over-delivered and provided great value. But that flood of information that is difficult to process and put to use is not really valuable.
In order to make use of that information, a reader, listener, or viewer would need to spend quite a bit of time reviewing notes from a live training or re-reading/re-watching the material, and they would need to do so within a day or two before most of the initial information fades from their mind.
Some speakers, trainers, and marketers seem almost proud of how they have hit their audience with a firehose of information. But they are often the same ones who complain about how few of their audience members actually implement any of the information they’ve received from that firehose!
Unfortunately, these experts have yet to figure out that they could – and, in my opinion, should – do much more to help their followers process all that new information and take action to apply it in their lives.
What do you think? Is it hard for you to absorb all that information when a speaker gives you so much? Or do you feel like they have given you great value — over-delivered — when they hit you with the firehose? Leave a comment and share your thoughts!
Today I tried out a new tool (new to me at least) that I just learned about recently. ReciteThis.com is a free web-based tool where you can type in quotes or tips and overlay them on a variety of backgrounds provided on the site.
I found the site fairly intuitive to use. There is a good variety of backgrounds from which you can choose. It is also easy to use the different options for sharing your finished quote and image.
However, I experienced some problems with getting my quote to look the way I wanted. The user has no control over text formatting. The site automatically assigns the font style, size, and color. So I could not choose a darker font in the 1st example to make the text show up against the white clouds!
In the example on the left, I had no way to make my name begin on the next line rather than on the same line as the end of the quote. The site controls the line endings and spacing.
I’ve been creating my own quote graphics for quite a while using PowerPoint. I use quotes that are specifically related to my business and I put my website URL in small print at the bottom of the image.
Using ReciteThis.com, I could add my website (like I did for the tip in example 2) but could not put any spacing between a quote and my website. Of course this is partly because the ReciteThis website is shown at the bottom of the image.
If you don’t care about promoting your business when you share quote graphics, then this site will provide you an easy way to make your quotes look good and share them easily on social media.
Another way I can imagine using this free web tool is to create quote images to add to slideshows, blog posts, webinars, e-books, Kindle books, videos, and other content marketing.
In those situations you would not need to put your website directly on the image because there are other opportunities for displaying the URL elsewhere in your content.
So check out ReciteThis.com and then let me know what you think of it. I look forward to seeing what you create!
Here’s an easy but effective way to create a visually pleasing slideshow:
What I like about this slideshow:
Quotes are fairly short; not too much text on each slide
Fonts are quite readable but still interesting
Large pictures that relate to the message of each slide
Not too many slides in the whole deck
All the quotes are closely related to a specific theme
How can you use this approach for your business?
Select 10 – 30 quotes. It would be best to choose a narrow, focused theme related to your business or perhaps a holiday. (see holiday example)
Try to keep them most of them under 25 words or so. A few of them might be longer.
Use at least a 32 point font, preferably even larger. You can put the author’s name in a smaller font.
Find a related picture. (If you need some good sources for royalty-free images, just click the link.)
Let the picture fill most of the slide. Place the quote on top of the picture. Be sure to use a text color that contrasts against the photo background.
If necessary, you can add a background color to the text box and then make it partly transparent so the picture still shows through but the words are easy to read.
Post your completed slides on Slideshare.net and other free slide hosting sites.