Part 1: Audience-Centered Design for Presentations

” Unless you try to understand the person you are speaking to, you will be seen as irrelevant and unresponsive to their interest and needs”. M.W. Hardwick  

Think of designing your presentations like choosing a Christmas gift.  I love to unwind at the end of the day with a bourbon and water. However, my wife, does not like most hard liquor drinks. Yet she loves wine, so a wine-of-the-month club membership would be a great gift for her. Think of designing your presentations from the this same point of view. Stop focusing on yourself and what you like and want to give the audience and shift your thinking to focus more on what the audience needs and wants. This approach highlights two critical variables of the R.A.T.E.R. presentation development model ( relevance. responsiveness). Building in this type of design thinking makes your speech or presentation more relevant and responsive to audience members needs and problems in their daily life’s.

Want to Increase Speaking Success and Your Impact by”10X? Learn and Practice these 6 Secrets

I’d like to address a problem that is so common that it seems silly to even mention it…

It’s the idea that too often we use our powerful minds and emotions to cause ourselves to FAIL rather than SUCCEED in communicating and presenting our ideas and self to others.

Fear of Failure can actually become a HABIT that leads to career derailment and failure.

Let me ask you a question:

Have you ever been in a presentation situation where you looked out at the audience and went blank or experienced an anxiety attack and could not perform at the “top of your game”?

Of course… we all have to one extent or another…

Being nervous before a performance, especially in front of an audience is UNIVERSAL. We’ve all been there so many times that the question doesn’t even need to be asked. Here are the three questions that you need to answer to increase your impact 10x:


What can we learn to overcome these fears?

How do we go about trying to increase our impact and reducing our fears?

To read about the 6 magical secrets to creating Sticky Presentations and becoming more effective speaker send me your e-mail to

My Speech was a Success but the audience was a FAILURE– What?

“Adults gifted with perceptivity are those who can hear the flowers singing within others not yet aware of their own gifts…They understand the meaning of personal symbols and to see beyond the superficiality of a situation to the person beneath… People who are gifted at “seeing” often seem to have a touch of magic about them. Eric Hoffer, .Jane Austen, Langston Hughes, Anne Hutchinson, William Shakespeare, and Henry David Thoreau are all examples”. Dr. Deidre Lovecky 

How can you grow and develop your potential if you are not open to feedback or live in denial. You can learn if you dob’t face your mistakes or errors in judgment. Concealing or ignoring mistakes makes learning impossible. For many people this type of defensiveness explains how they create difficulties and problems in life.  This type of viewpoint or blame  keeps you stuck in a rut. What do to if this is your approach to life? The simple solution is to own the responsibility for messing-up and try to figure out what happened from the audience’s point of view and then identify what you learned and apply your learned the next time you get an opportunity.

1. Ownership and responsibility

2. Review the situation.

3. Seek feedback and observations from others.

4. Be resilient.

5. Decide what you are in control of and can change.

“Sticky Presentations” Use 4 C’s and other tactics…

“Speech is power. Speech is to persuade, to convert, to compel.’

Ralph Waldo Emerson

Today I am going to summarize what it takes to make your messages “stick” with audience members. The Stickiness Factor, was popularized by Malcolm Gladwell, in the book, Tipping Point.  Gladwell defines a tipping point as: “the moment of critical mass, the threshold, the boiling point… when ideas, products and messages lead to behaviors that seem to spread like viruses do. One of the most powerful examples of such “stickiness” and thus change in behavior is the rise in popularity of Sesame Street in  children’s television programs. This program’s framework ushered in the development of message retention, diversity, combined with specific educational content, like learning the ABC’s and numbers with bilingual focus and through a climate of  high energy, fun and entertainment. We reviewed the four C’s before –so remember to make your message sticky as a presenter–Be Confident , Clear, Concise and Compelling. Other ideas are as follows:

  1. Be Audience Centered. Grab their attention early. Start with getting them involved by asking a reflective question. Gather information on the needs and expectations of your listeners; so as to make your presentation interesting and appealing to them.  What are their expectations?  What are their attitudes toward you, your team, or your topic? What is their one learning goal for the presentation?
  2. Keep your Significant Overriding Objective (SOO) top of the mind.  Is your goal to inspire, inform and present information or to persuade a committee or person to adopt and support your proposal? Repeat goal often and tie to specific examples.
  3. Get to the point. What are the key points you will make?  How do you want to say them?  What graphics will be used i.e., flip charts, PowerPoint, or a combination?  Keep visual aids simple and to the point.  Do you have any written material, handouts, sensory or tangible  examples to show audience?
  4. Challenge their thinking. Present a surprising fact. Use examples, analogies, simulations, and stories to stick your message.
  5. Make you message clear, concrete, compelling, and consistent with the facts. The 4 C’s drive energy into the delivery and bring relevance to the participants.
  6. Be entertaining and extemporaneous while avoiding presenting too much information or “hop scotching” around from topic to topic. Speaking from notes or a key point outline makes the presentation smoother and more natural than reading a speech to the audience.
  7. Be natural in your style and passionate about the message. Emotions — getting people to care about our ideas involves making them feel something. When talking about litter on the highways an example is the Campaign in Texas “Don’t mess with Texas tapped into Texans feelings of pride.