The JF Guest Author Spot
I have a fabulous FREE offer for you today - but first, here's Debbie's excellent piece.
I am a firm believer in the magic rule of threes. Three strikes and you're out; the genie gives the lucky lamp-holder three wishes; Goldilocks and the three bears; beginning, middle and end; morning, noon and night; stop, yield, and go; yes, no, and maybe; Larry, Mo and Curly; me myself and I....the list goes on and on.
What does this have to do with presentations? Everything! People love threes. They're easy to listen to and (more important) remember. When you begin speaking by telling the audience, "I'm here today to talk about three main things", or "There are three reasons why this system works." you can almost see them relax. Why? They know they can hold onto three ideas. Three ideas will not strain or tax their minds. Plus, we have all grown up with threes; our minds naturally gravitate toward the idea of grouping things that way.
As you prepare your presentation, plan around the rule of threes. First of all, every presentation should have a beginning, middle, and end. How many presentations have you seen that sort of end without an ending? You're left holding a group of ideas without anything to tie them together. You've probably heard this before, but the simple structure of "Tell 'em what you're going to tell 'em, tell 'em, and then tell 'em what you told 'em." is so well known because it works.
And for heaven's sake, don't make more than three main points. I will admit, there are those who advocate having five points, or "benefits" in a sales presentation. As militant as I am about the magic rule of threes, this I will allow. Why? Well, their reasoning is that in a sales presentation if you give the audience five benefits of your project or service they can throw two out and still be left with (drum roll please) three! Voila!
What if you have more than 3 points to make, or five benefits to expound on? I would urge you to take a close look at your presentation and see where you can pare it down. I am absolutely unyielding about this, and with good reason.
Think of the last time you listened to a sermon given by a priest, minister, rabbi, etc. There you are, sitting in your place of worship, intently listening. He makes his first point, and it's a good one, second point, you're right there with him. Third point, he's still got you. When he makes his forth point you sit up a little taller and take a deep breath; you really want to stay with this guy. Now he makes the 5th point and you're really hoping for the conclusion. Your brain is full. Unfortunately, he goes on to make point number six, at which point your realize he's gone beyond what you can retain. You drop all of what he's said from your short-term memory and STOP LISTENING. Instead, you start focusing on what you're going to pick up at the grocery store on your way home. Worse, you might even feel a little angry, and justifiably so. This speaker took you outside the boundaries of what you (and most of his audience) could reasonably retain. All that effort wasted.
So do yourself and your audience a favor. Structure your presentations around the rule of threes. They will remember you, and your content. What's more, they will have enjoyed listening to you because you made the experience successful for THEM.
Debbie Fay is the founder of bespeak presentation solutions, a presentations coaching company that helps clients build and deliver presentations that get heard and get results. Debbie has helped hundreds of people of all ages and vocations become confident compelling change-making speakers.
Today's News: A couple of weeks ago, I highlighted a great offer from The Customer Collective, which is now in full swing - details below - and it really is a "no brainer" My gift box arrived this week and it was a fantastic surprise. I really do recommend you to sign-up, you WILL thank me!
Tomorrow: Is all about success!!
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