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The Sharpest Point (2)

by Randall Craig on July 8, 2016

Filed in: Associations, Blog, Communication, Make It Happen Tipsheet, Presentations

Tagged as: , , ,

Have you ever listened to a presentation, and felt the signal-to-noise ratio could have been improved?  Or have you ever delivered a critical presentation, and felt that you could have done better… but you were not precisely sure how?

Too often we add debris into our presentations.  These are those filler words, unrelated sidebars, and administrative notes that we unwittingly slip in.  They get in the way: debris obscures your point, distracts the listener, and extends the amount of time required to deliver your message.

An earlier post illustrated this, but left the question of how to fix the problem unanswered. Here’s how:

  • Record:  The only way to truly identify debris is to record yourself delivering your presentation, and then have your presentation transcribed, word-for-word.  Print out the transcription, and then use a highlighter to identify any words (or sentences or paragraphs) that don’t play a role in achieving the presentation’s objectives.   There is no getting around this step: if you don’t have your presentation transcribed, you will never see the evidence.
  • Re-edit:   After the debris is identified, re-edit the script of your presentation so that the presentation flows.  Every word needs to audition for a spot in your script.
  • Rehearse:  If the presentation is important, it is worthwhile rehearsing.  The idea is to rehearse so much that the “script” sounds natural.  Once this happens, begin the process again: record, re-edit, and rehearse.  Each time you go through this cycle, the signal-to-noise ratio will improve – as will your impact on the audience.

This week’s action plan:  This week, roll up your sleeves and start making the sharpest point: record, re-edit, and rehearse.

Communications insight #1:  This is precisely what professional speakers do during their preparation for delivering a keynote.

Communications insight #2:  This technique is just as effective for day-to-day conversations, and any written work.

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Randall Craig

@RandallCraig (follow me)
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Randall has been advising on Digital Strategy since 1994 when he put the Toronto Star online, the Globe and Mail's GlobeInvestor/Globefund, several financial institutions, and about 100+ other major organizations. He is the author of eight books, including Digital Transformation for Associations, the Everything Guide to Starting an Online Business, and Social Media for Business. He speaks and advises on Digital Transformation, Digital Trust, and Social Media. More at

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