Practice Tips: Inspiration and Reminders to help you become a Great Speaker

Monday, June 28, 2010

What's in your Treasure Chest?

The words "treasure chest" conjure up all kinds of exciting and valuable images: pieces of gold, gold coins, precious jewels, chalices, notes, fabulous jewelry, silver and gold ware, maps of hidden treasure and so on.  When we think of having a treasure chest of our own - it's likely a place we store jewelry, family photos, coin or stamp collections and mementos that mean a lot to us.

When I begin to work on a presentation, I create a special presentation treasure chest, to fill with all of the sensory and action-filled elements that I might like to use.  My intention is to make my presentation so enjoyable, so compelling, so sticky that they will remember my core message and take it back to their office or home and communicate accurately to others. 

First I analyze my audience and get very clear about what my core message is - the exact words I'd like my audience to remember after the presentation is over.  I put these in my treasure chest first.  Next I add the 2-3 main points that will support the core message.

And then the real fun begins.  I look at all of my points and sub-points and think of visual images that each of these stimulates in my imagination.  I do not edit them at all.  I do not question whether I have the means, the exact technology to manifest them - rather I just write them down or sketch them.  I add as many as I can think of - no editing allowed.

Next I add to my treasure chest kinesthetic elements for each point and sub-point.: words of action, scenes of action, active verbs, gestures, spacial relationships and feelings.

Now I put as many stories as I can think of for each of the main points and sub-points.  Stories illuminate and connect us with the content and affect us on many levels.  Personal stories, case stories, media stories, statistical stories, and future "what if" stories.

And last and most important, I add interactive elements for each main and sub-point: questions, rhetorical questions, activities, brainstorming, list-making, discussion groups - whatever is appropriate for the audience, core message, and time available. These invite participation and stimulate interaction between the audience members.

Now my treasure chest is full and I can begin the process of choosing which of all of these I finally want to use in this particular presentation.  The process has stimulated my imagination, and helped me to create a colorful, lively, and engaging experience for my audience - and for me as the presenter.  I feel bountiful and look forward to sharing my treasures with my audience.

If you want to create richer and more exciting presentations using the Treasure Chest approach, register for the Saturday workshop on July 17th: Speaking with Clarity.  Or register for the full weekend series and really increase your professional value!  More info or registration, check here.

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