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Presenting Your Big Idea Is Easy as Pie

Presentation Tip for Communicating Your Big Idea
Presentations can be easy as pieLast weekend we celebrated Pi Day, which happens to also be Albert Einstein’s birthday. I took this picture of our Pi/Birthday celebration pie last Saturday at 9:00pm as the time/date numbers lined up to be 3.14159, which is the first part of the intriguing, never-ending number . Though Einstein was not the one who developed Pi, he was brilliant about translating complex theories into simple statements that others could understand. His thoughts on communications and presenting information are summed up in this famous quote of his.

“If you don’t understand it simply, you don’t understand it well enough”.

Einstein’s point is spot on. If you have an opportunity to prepare a presentation, whether to a small group or a large audience, make sure you can communicate your message simply. If you find that you struggle to get your point across within the timeframe that has been provided, then chances are you do not have a strong enough understanding of your message. I have found many presenters in our industry show up to conferences or product reviews with 30-50 slides for a one-hour presentation and spray their audience with data; forcing them to make sense of a large amount of information. What the audience needs is not a lot of data, but for the presenter to boil down the data to meaningful ideas and recommend something we can do with the idea. If you have an opportunity to present, whether to a small group or large audience, start by doing the following.

Ask yourself,

“What is the big idea?” The answer to this question is your point of view and your presentation’s Primary Message. It is the single biggest thing you want them to remember when they walk away from your presentation.

“What am I asking the audience to do?” This is your Call-To-Action. It is what you are asking your audience to do or change. If possible, make your request specific by assigning a deadline and a way of measuring their success in taking action.

Once you can clearly explain your message in a simple, concise way, then building your supporting points, benefits and examples will be easy. Get your point of view clear before you start developing the visuals of how to present (for example, storyboard for a small group, Power Point slides, hand-outs, posters and pictures for larger groups).

When you are asked to present, please be respectful to your audience and to yourself. Take a moment to make sure you can explain your big idea simply and know what you are asking from the audience before you take the steps to develop the presentation. Imagine how challenging it was for Einstein to boil down his point of view and explain complex ideas like E=MC2!

And now back to pie, because my flaky-crust apple cinnamon variety is very simple to understand!

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