The Influence of Your Words
Five Reasons to Keep Your Staff Informed During Times of Change

No More Boring Presentations: 3 Quick Tips to Get You Focused


A man that I hold in high regard, because of his insights on leadership, gave a presentation at an event I attended.  My expectations were high, the experience was disappointedly low.

I discovered that he is a comma communicator. This prolific author and influencer seemed to be incapable of getting to the point.  The presentation was plagued by incomplete thoughts and detours of impulsiveness.  The repetition of ideas sounded like he was circling around the airport, but couldn’t find the runway to land.  

“Maybe it’s just me today and I’m having a hard time listening,” I thought.  “Or, he is just having a bad day.”

I ordered the transcript of the program, thinking that if I could read his thoughts I’d have a better understanding.  It did help my understanding.  It also revealed that he is without question a comma communicator.  To be fair, I downloaded two more scripts of different presentations and sadly found the same problem.  

What is a comma communicator?  A person who speaks in incomplete, rambling sentences often punctuated by multiple commas. 

Here is an example from the transcript: 

“Well here is a point that I think makes all the difference, and if you think about it carefully, and I’ve been thinking about how this applies to a lot of different areas in my life and our business, because the impact can be a big deal if we don’t consider how important this is, especially if we ignore the current trends that we are facing during the next few months, and that is putting this issue at the top of our agenda.”

What was the point? 

When you and I communicate it is imperative that we get to the point.  Our listeners want to know what we think.  They will get lost and frustrated if we fail to communicate with clarity.

Three specific ideas on how to avoid the trap of a comma induced coma:

  • Use the period.  Communicate your point in one concise sentence.  Brevity can improve your credibility.  
  • Edit your illustration/opinion.  Support your ideas with a clear example or a confident opinion.  The art of editing is removing what is unnecessary or repetitive.  Supporting the point clearly and quickly will help people to stay focused on your ideas.
  • Practice writing daily.  Take 10 minutes every day to write a specific thought out into one sentence.  The fewer the words the better.  The best presentations that I have heard were presented by people who were excellent writers.  Their spoken words were influenced by their understanding of sentence structure and language.  A great way to improve your presentation skills is to take a writing class.  

I do think that the leader I mentioned has some great ideas.  I’ll just wait for the book.

-- Steven Iwersen

 

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