Want a better presentation? Begin with the blueprint.

We kicked off the DiscoveryX program at Nationwide Children’s Hospital last week. Now in its third year, this Transforming Talks, a white-label TED-style talk event, was brought to the hospital by Lara McKenzie, PhD. Lara is a Principal Investigator in the Center for Injury Research and Policy at the Research Institute at Nationwide Children’s Hospital. She is also a former speaker. (Check out her BRUTx talk on child safety and the transformative program she created.)
During the orientation of the new cohort of speakers, Lara shared her motivation for bringing this program to Nationwide Children’s. I’ll paraphrase…
A TED-style talk is totally different than how we are taught to communicate and present. And it works!
Lara was confronted with the reality that we see every day in every industry: great minds, doing great things, and communicating in an hour long format with research posters and power point slides in 10-point font. Just thinking about it puts me to sleep.
Structuring a powerful and engaging talk is like building a house. You start with a plan for what it will look like. Next, you create the staging area at the construction site. There you sort out the supplies— all of the 2x4s in one pile, the nails in another, the tools in yet another. If you started building a house without a plan and organized materials it would be awfully difficult to create a solid and attractive structure.
The same process holds true for building well-structured talk. However, many of us organize presentations differently. How often do you find that you start preparing for a talk by opening up a blank power point? Or, worse yet, an old power point?
That’s like starting to build a house by nailing 2x4s together.
Delivering a great talk means, first and foremost, identifying one governing idea.
The coaching process that we guide clients through focuses on that governing idea. We plan around it; find content to support it; sort, organize, and cull that content; and then create an outline for the talk. You probably noticed we haven’t opened PowerPoint yet.
The preparation and structure we use is the difference that Lara found in her coaching, and it’s the training that she wanted for more great minds at Nationwide Children’s Hospital. This process gives you a structure that not only supports a TED-style talk, it creates an elevator speech, a ten minute talk, or an hour long lecture.
It’s not always easy. It takes a lot of heavy lifting on the front end. But, when done well, it truly changes the way that you communicate and, most importantly, how your audience hears you.
For more info on Content Framing and to learn this methodology, check out our upcoming open classes.