I’m home. I’ve just returned from a two week, three-city work tour in Europe, London, Amsterdam (actually, Geleen), and Paris. In London and Paris I did presentations for two different clients. In the Netherlands I lead a presentation skills workshop. I love my job, but it’s always good to be home.
On the flight back I was struck by the many times and various ways that the number 3 came up during the trip. From using PowerPoint in a large lecture hall to presenting at a trade show to teaching corporate managers how to be better presenters, the number 3 and the concept of thirds was always reappearing.
Over the next few months, probably 3, I’m going share my observations on the power of 3 and how you can to use it to make your presentations more focused and effective. You’ll see how the power of 3 can be applied to improve your message delivery, your slide deck, your images, your use of technology, and much more.
To get things started here’s a quick one – I call it my presentation APP. It’s an acronym for Audience, Preparation & Practice. These are the “3 magic keys to successful presentations.” Focus on these 3 areas and your next presentation will be better than your last one. I promise.
Audience: Focus on your audience’s top 3 concerns. Learn them and provide answers to those concerns within your presentation, and you’ll be well on your way to meeting your audience’s expectations of a successful presentation. According to Woody Allen, 80% of success is showing up. In presenting, I believe that 80% of success is answering your audience’s top 3 questions.
Preparation: Gather, refine and align. Gather all of your facts, photos, and stories before you create your slide deck. Refine your materials to have the fewest words, the strongest points, and the most human stories possible. After creating your slide deck, make sure that your slides align visually by looking at them in the slide sorter view. This should leave you with a slide deck that has a clear message with good visual flow.
Practice: How do you get to Carnegie Hall? It’s still true. Practice. Practice. Practice. Every uber-person in sports(Michael Jordan), performing(Lady Gaga) or presenting(Steve Jobs) knows that practice is an essential key that keeps them at the top of their field. According to Malcolm Gladwell, it takes about 10,000 hours of practice to reach the level of mastery in most areas. That breaks down to 3 hours of practice every day for a decade. Yes, that’s a lot of time, but the pay-off is great.
Learning to use the power of 3 can advance your presentation skills in many ways. And, as learning should never stop, my next stop is Austin, Texas for the Presentation Summit. I’ll be on the learning side of things, meeting with presentation trainers from all over the world. How long will I be gone? That’s right, 3 days.
Charles Greene III Presentation Magician