Issue No. 216 of Your Weekly Staff Meeting features a very, very simple method for making memorable presentations: “Problem—Solution. Challenge—Response. Question—Answer.” Oh…and do all of that in just 15 minutes! And this reminder: check out my Management Buckets website with dozens of resources and downloadable worksheets for your staff meetings.
Take Your Face Out of Park
Henry Kissinger, former U.S. Secretary of State, once asked reporters at a press conference, “Does anyone have any questions for the answers I’ve prepared?”
Q&A is often the easiest part of making presentations—but even that can drone on and on unless you read this week’s book. Most leaders and managers must regularly give interesting talks, inspire the team in staff meetings, deliver visionary board reports, represent the organization to groups and churches—and often with audiences more interested in their iPhones than in the boring presentation.
Truth be told—our presentations stink. Sunday morning at eleven isn’t much better.
So when is the last time you worked on your presentation skills and when is the last time a book changed your mind—and your behavior? How about last month? I read 15 Minutes Including Q&A on my flight to Dallas—and immediately changed my approach to a workshop I led the next day at the Christian Leadership Alliance national conference. Subtitled, “A Plan to Save the World From Lousy Presentations,” author Joey Asher has struck gold with his Golden Rule of Presenting, “Present unto others as you would have them present unto you.”
Asher recommends you build every talk with this formula: 15 minutes max, with seven minutes for content and eight minutes for Q&A. And…if some inconsiderate jerk in your audience asks a question, don’t you dare respond, “Let’s put that question in the parking lot and I’ll get to it later.” Answer the question when it’s asked! Why? It’s about the audience—it’s not about you. (Now there’s a new thought!)
That’s pretty much it: five steps in seven minutes including the hook (30 seconds), the preview (30 seconds), the body (three points and a story in five minutes) the recap (30 seconds) and a call to action (30 seconds). Then allow the natural flow of Q&A during your presentation—and wrap it all up in 15 minutes. Impossible you say?
“…it’s not that hard if you keep a simple principle in mind. Your goal isn’t to tell everything you did [or know]. It’s to help your listeners with their lives.”
Begin with “the hook.” Asher writes, “Start by putting your finger on the business issue that your audience cares most about. A good way to arrive at your hook is to think, ‘If I were to ask my audience what worried them most about the topic I’m going to talk about, what would they say?’”
“The hook often starts with the following phrase, ‘I understand that you are concerned about…’”
Your three points should be like bumper stickers: short and memorable, supported by stories. “Great speakers use lots of stories.”
Q&A is “presentation duct tape.” says Asher, “It fixes everything.”
Twenty-five short chapters. Twenty-five “I can do that!” insights, including chapter 19, “Facial Energy That Connects.” Did you know that you’re capable of making 3,000 different and meaningful facial expressions? (Do 10 right now!)
“Take your face out of park,” Asher admonishers. And while you’re at it, exaggerate your gestures. “The gesture bone is connected to the voice bone.”
This is a brilliant book for brushing up your boring talks. Use it to coach and mentor your team, your kids and your grandkids—and your pastor! To order from Amazon, click on the graphic below for 15 Minutes Including Q&A: A Plan to Save the World From Lousy Presentations, by Joey Asher.
Your Weekly Staff Meeting Questions:
1) Asher says “great speakers use lots of stories.” Share a story you still remember from a speaker you heard more than a year ago.
2) An even simpler method for a talk, says the author, is to begin, “If I were you, I would ask three questions about this topic.” He adds, “Then write the three questions on a flip chart. Answer the questions. Then stop.” Why might this method work?
Payroll Systems Thinking - Insights from Mastering the Management Buckets: 20 Critical Competencies for Leading Your Business or Nonprofit
One of the big ideas in the Systems Bucket, Chapter 18, in Mastering the Management Buckets is to train your team in tickler tracking.
Payroll is one of those repeating tasks that must be flawless. The same devotion to details that you require for on-time paychecks can also be routine throughout your organization. Creating a systematic process for repeating tasks is part of systems thinking.
To train your team in tickler tracking, begin by urging them to think about their daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly and annually repeating tasks. Getting tasks down on paper is the first step. For more help—and a simple format—visit the Systems Buckets webpage for more resources, including The "D.W.M.Q.A.T. Form" for Repeatable Tasks.