4 Tips for Crafting Great Speeches and Presentations

4 Tips for Crafting Great Speeches and Presentations

Articles Blog


At some point in your
life, you’re probably gonna to be asked to give a presentation. And this could be a great opportunity for you, but only if
you prepare correctly. Otherwise, it’s an
opportunity for failure. Even if you are a great speaker, even if you’re charismatic and confident and you’re able to walk up on a stage without as one Cards Against
Humanity card put it, “Peeing a little bit.” Your presentation can still fall flat on its face and bore
your audience to tears, if it’s founded on a poor idea
or structured in a bad way. Fortunately, communicating
your ideas to an audience in a way that’s persuasive and exciting is a skill that you can
learn and get better at. So today, I want to share four big ideas that you can use to start crafting and delivering better presentations. And speaking of skills that you can learn, this video is sponsored by Skillshare. Skillshare is an online learning community with over 15,000 courses you can take in a ton of different topics. Including, graphic design, web
development, business skills, and, of course, presentation skills. And I’m gonna talk about
them a little bit more near the end of the
video and also recommend a couple of courses that
you might want to take if you want to improve
your presentation skills. But first, let’s get into the tips. Starting with, the absolute
most important element of any presentation that
you’re ever going to give which is, the idea. The underlying idea or
concept that you’re trying to communicate with your audience is the beating heart of your presentation. As Chris Anderson, the
Curator of TED, puts it: “Your number one mission as a speaker “is to take something
that matters deeply to you “and to rebuild it inside
the minds of your listeners.” And that’s what
communication is all about. Taking your ideas and sharing them with people who are willing to listen. And when it comes to presentations its especially important
to highlight this. Because a lot of people are concerned with how they’re gonna look
or how they’re gonna sound on stage and they don’t
give as much thought to the substance and the meaning of the idea that they’re communicating. But in truth, the substance
of that idea matters so much more than how you look
while you’re delivering it. So before you ever step on a stage, understand all the details of your idea, understand why your audience
should learn about this idea, and make sure that each
part of your presentation relates that idea and supports it. So, once you’ve nailed down the idea behind your presentation it’s time to start looking at some tactics that you can use to make that
presentation more compelling. And the first one I’m gonna
talk about is, storytelling. The human brain is fundamentally wired to be drawn in be a good story. And storytelling is probably the mode of communication that
we’re most receptive to. Also, telling a story is a great way to add emotion to your talk. And that’s especially
useful when your idea isn’t all that emotional fundamentally. For instance, back when the
movie Prometheus was about to come out, the marketing
team put out this fake 2023 TEDTalk where the
CEO of Weyland Industries, Peter Weyland comes out
and he gives this talk about human progression and it’s a pretty self-aggrandizing talk, that’s
basically meant to build up him and his company in
the eyes of the audience. But he starts out his talk with a story about the titan, Prometheus, stealing fire from the gods and giving it to humanity as their first piece of true technology. And he gets into these ugly
and kinda disgusting details about the punishment the the gods used on Prometheus after he did this. And while, this isn’t all that related to the progress of
technology, it’s a great way to add some visceral emotion and imagery to the talk that’s
otherwise kinda sterile. Now, if you’re gonna add
a story to your talk, you need to know the elements
of great storytelling. And there a three main elements
I want to talk about here. Number one, any good story needs to have a character the
audience can empathize with. And here I want to note
that personal stories can be especially effective
at forging a connection between you and your
audience especially if that story shows a little bit of
vulnerability on your part. You also need a conflict
or some sort of problem. Basically the thing
that makes your audience curious and interested in the story. And finally, you need
a satisfying conclusion that ties back into your idea. And on a related note,
you’ve probably heard that telling a story can be a great way to open a presentation or speech. And this is true but there’s a catch. As the author, Michael
Port, puts it in his book, “Steal the Show”, “If you’re
opening a with a story, “it had better be a great story. “Otherwise, open with note that’s “intellectually or
philosophically important. “Often, when a speaker
starts with a story, “many in the audience think,
Oh boy, here comes another one “of those dull opening stories…” In other words, we’re all
pretty jaded when it comes to the typical way that
people structure their talks. After all, most of us have sat in school from anywhere
between 18 to 30 years. So, we’ve sat through
a lot of presentations and we’ve seen it all. So, if you’re using an
opening story as a crutch, people are gonna catch on right away and it’s gonna hurt you. Now in addition to storytelling, another tactic you can use to
connect with your audience, is to use analogies and metaphors, to essentially meet your
audience where they are. Using an analogy is a great
way to explain something in terms that your audience
is gonna easily understand. And a really good example
of this comes from the movie The Big Short, which is one
of my favorite recent films. Now, in case your
unfamiliar with this movie, it’s basically a story of how the great financial crash of 2008 happened. And in telling that story, the movie tries to explain the
inner-workings of some of the outright fraudulent financial inventions that helped to cause it. One of those inventions, is called a Collateralized Debt Obligation or a CDO. But, instead of trying
to straight-up explain this purposely complicated
financial instrument, they create an analogy that’s
much easier to understand. After Ryan Gosling’s character
introduces the concept, the camera pans over to Anthony
Bourdain, the famous chef. And then he creates a story
about how he bought fish on Friday but then three days
later its getting kind of rotten but instead of throwing
it away he just throws it into a stew and calls it something new. And that creates a much
easier to understand picture of how a CDO works and its
much more emotionally visceral as well since most people
have smelled rotten fish but don’t even know what a CDO is. Also, analogies and
metaphors can give you access to yet another tool for connecting with your audience, and that is humor. And one of the masters at using this type of humor that I think you
should study is, John Oliver. Even though his show
covers topics that are objectively boring like
the federal budget, gerrymandering, and the
IRS, millions of people still tune in to watch it because John is an expert at using analogies to tie-in those boring topics to
things that are funnier. For example, in one episode
he takes the IRS’ practice of literally hanging
up on its own customers which they call a Courtesy
Disconnect, and ties it to other things whose names
hide their true meaning. Like then Care Bears, who
are still vicious bears. And if you could learn to do this as well, especially in a way that connects with your specific audience,
you’re gonna gain their trust and keep them much more engaged throughout the entirety
of your presentation. The last tactic I want
to talk about today, is Audience Interaction. Because if you can take your audience and get them actively
involved in the presentation, then you can improve that
presentation by a huge margin. And to explain how to do this, I want to tell you a
story about my own life. So back in 2012 when I was
still a college senior, I flew to New York City for a
conference called, Blog World. I was a blogger at the
time, I was pretty small, and I had a lot of heroes
that were gonna be there, who I really wanted to see. So, on the second day of the conference, my friend, Alex and I went to go see one of our favorite bloggers give a talk. But we couldn’t get into
the room because it was standing-room only and there
were so many people packed in that there were literally people in the hallway trying to
hear what he had to say. So, instead of getting into
the mosh pit ourselves, my friend Alex says, “Hey.
Let’s go see this guy, “Marcus Sheridan, instead.” And we go into his room,
it’s much less packed, and it turns out that
Marcus is a pool salesman. So I’m thinking, this guy probably doesn’t have a whole lot for me. But, by the end of his speech, I was convinced that Marcus was hands-down the best presenter at
the entire conference. And the reason for this,
was that Marcus was an expert at audience interaction. And more importantly, he made
his audience feel special. My most intense memory
from the presentation, is when he put up a slide on the projector that just said, “October 10th, 2008” and underneath there
was the number, “7,882.” Then he asked the audience, “Does anybody know what this number means? “And why it relates to this date?” And because I had been
taking economics class, I raised my hand and I said,
“I think that’s the number “the Dow Jones fell to on October 2008 “during the stock market crash.” Which was the right answer
and Marcus came over and said, “My man! This guy know what’s up.” And he made me feel so
special that I had absolute rapt attention for the rest
of the entire presentation. And I loved it. Now, Marcus is a great
speaker across the board. He’s got a lot of energy,
he’s really engaging, and he has a lot of
practice doing this type of audience interaction. But still, if you could learn to do this, you’re gonna have a lot more success in your own presentations. But I do want to give
you a couple of warnings. Number one, don’t start your presentation off with audience interaction
because it can backfire. Remember, when you get up on that stage, you haven’t made your
first impression yet, so your audience is still
naturally a bit skeptical you have to build their trust first. Secondly, you need to have a plan for what your going to do if your audience doesn’t answer your question you expect, or if they don’t answer at all. Now, these are certainly not
the only tactics you can use to craft a great presentation. And I think if you want to
get better, you should go out, and learn from as many
sources as you possibly can. And make them diverse, don’t
just watch other speakers, watch TV shows, watch
movies, watch advertisements. Because these are all
forms of communication, they all have information you can glean and adapt into your own style. Additionally, there is a lot to be learned from taking actual planned out courses from an expert instructor. And one great place to find those courses is over on Skillshare. Skillshare has a ton
of courses you can take in many, many different topics. But the ones that I want to focus on here are the courses in
presentation skills and design. For instance, one of my favorites on the platform is a course called, Presentation Essentials by Simon Sinek. And if you’re not
familiar with Simon Sinek, He gave my favorite TED Talk of all time on a concept called, Start With Why. And his course over on Skillshare is an excellent supplement to this video. And if you want to improve
your presentation skills, it would be a great idea to go take it. You’ll also find courses on
how to nail your delivery, on visual storytelling, and
on crafting slides that rock, in addition to many, many other topics. Plans on Skillshare can be had for as low as 10 bucks a
month but if you’d like to start learning today
at absolutely no cost, you can get a two-month free trial by using the link in the
description down below, and using the code,
ovation, when you sign up. I want to once again thank Skillshare for sponsoring this video it really helps to support this channel. And thank you for watching. If you like this video give a
like to support this channel, and if you have questions leave them down in the comments below, and I will do my best
to get them answered. If you haven’t subscribed
yet, you can click right there to subscribe to this
channel and get new videos of being a more effective student, and you can click right
there to get a free copy of my book on earning better grades. Also, if you want to get another video, you can click right there to
watch one and you can listen to our latest podcast episode right there. Thanks for watchin’.

100 thoughts on “4 Tips for Crafting Great Speeches and Presentations”

  1. love your videos, hate the skillshare ad, just being honest and yes I understand. I just think there should be better ways to advertise. Thanks for the videos, you're great

  2. Analogies and metaphors lead to oversimplification and illusory understanding. Don't just shove them in there because internet people tell you it's part of the formula. Make sure it's relevant and accurate, Not just funny, provocative, or "original". (nothing against you TF, good vid)

  3. In our semester this summer, Instead of giving quizzes, seat works or exams. We should present the assigned topic to us and the outcome grade of that report will be our grade for that subject. I already completed my slides but I have this fear to explain to people and to speak in front of them. That's why I'm nervous this coming tuesday. 😰

  4. Professor: "Okay, I want you all to present…"

    Me: I will fight to the death before I even step near that podium you insufferable reprobate.

    *Two weeks later. Teacher receives box.

    Me: Hi, this is Bryan Baker, and professor, and this is your tape.

  5. From the stress podcast, what would happen if you internally meditate before you do external meditation?Is it as good as meditating externally before you do it internally?

  6. Useful video and topic. Have you studied rhetoric much? There is a book/audiobook called "Thank you for arguing" that I highly recommend on this subject of presentation.

  7. hey Thomas , this channel is amazing and has helped me out a lot. love all the apps your reccomend, super usefull. Found a really fun app today actually. Its a not app that makes the notes appear on your lock screen. SUUUPER usefull and i love it. and if you dont want any one to se whats on it you give your phone a slight change. It called Lnote. if you ever do a new vid and this app is relevant , you should put it in the vid. Really easy to neglect note apps on your phone, but not this one. and i`m not working for the app or anything. just an app freak that loves apps that can help my life be easier. take care man

  8. It's like you read my mind xD, i have a presentational in 2 days from now and I'm so nervous, thanks for the tips

  9. Either you lost weight or your hair cut is giving that effect.

    This came just in time! I have to present this week, and I hate presenting.. 😭

  10. Hi Tom, great video! I'm asking this question again: when will you update your impossible list? I'm so curious about this, man. As usual, all the best!

  11. Thank you! I have to give a presentation in English tomorrow (not my native language and not really fluent in English). This helps a lot!

  12. God I wish this video came out 2 weeks earlier, anyway, I gave a presentation, it was my first ever actually, it was okay, but I got that problem, I've that I was completely disconnected from my audience, kinda felt like I was alone or something or that I was in another dimension, and I haven't even asked if they were following with me, how do I avoid that, how do I get more involved with the audience and make sure they're fully comprehending what am saying ?

  13. Hi Thomas, I was wondering if you could do a video on how to write essays. In high school we almost always had topics that were given to us and usually followed a 5 paragraph essay style (or expanded versions for long essays). However, in college, we often have to choose our own topics and the Intro-Body-Conclusion cut and paste styles just don't seem to work very well. Any tips for choosing topics, outlining better, using evidence, or just the best way you've found to write papers???

  14. Phew the last video I saw of you I thought you turned into a fun loving not anymore credible dude just by profiling your body language. I can see your body language now that I was very incorrect. My guess you were just having fun, sharing ideas, and amusing the fan people I suppose? Man you almost lost me there for good. Jesus loves you 🙂

  15. But I must add to my previous comment that I didn't lose complete faith in you I would have came back until I found that Thomas Frank that I started to like from the beginning.

  16. So in a few weeks I'm giving a very small presentation on my culture for English class, about 3 to 5 minutes. I know it's no big deal but I kind of want to stand out among my classmates, so are there any other tips for improving a really short presentation?

  17. Thomas,

    What should I do if I'm too nihilistic to function? That is, nothing has any value to me, and, thereby, I find no reason or motivation to do anything?

    Thanks.

  18. Thanks for the video, very good timing as I will give an important presentation tomorrow! I'm a young researcher and I have to present my thesis project to my colleagues. Of course, my subject is a bit complicated for non-specialists and some other researchers (and really good presenters) adviced me to add personal stories and examples to explain concepts that are hard to understand. I think it's a great idea, like you said, story-telling is appealing.

  19. Hmm. The Skillshare link and sign-up process are not working. I get a vague "something's gone wrong" message. Anyone else experience this?

    P.S. You rock, Thomas. Thanks!

  20. I'm a languages student, particularly in French and Japanese, and I was wondering if you could do a video on learning languages?

  21. The story telling thing always makes me focus like 20 times more and makes me emotionally connect especially during motivational speeches even though every speaker and their mom uses the tactic haha I am sheep

  22. Ok but also Thumbs up for a video on how Thomas makes videos like maybe not the super nitty gritty editing stuff (but also yes) but like the writing filming and rough editing process? Or may me like a series?

  23. Awesome and helpful! Thank you for making this video. I have two presentations coming up this Tuesday! <3

  24. Great video with solid advice on tips many great presenters use in their talks and presentations. I'm glad that they realize we're still human and try their best to keep their audience engaged and entertained. These skills go far beyond the delivery of what the message they want to communicate; it speaks to the audience they're trying to reach.

    Simon Sinek is one of my favourite minds, and he definitely approaches life from very different angles through careful observation, understanding, research and lastly application.

    Keep up the good work Thomas!

  25. I only watch ur videos because you're cute….. & i need help too but mostly because you're cute

  26. Elisha Long One queation:
    Do you know free will is an illusion for science?In fact our world can be deterministic or random (in the world of atoms)

    Randomness one day could be became deterministic,because may we haven't yet right tools of observation..

    Anyway if we live in a deterministic or randomness world,physics laws don't allow free will.

    I'm in existential criss…what do you think?

  27. Hi Thomas I was wondering if you could make a video on how to create a resume without work experience

  28. Hi Thomas, hope you're fine. Can you make a video about how to choose what to study, please.. for people like me who can't make a decision..

    Thanks a lot for your videos!

  29. I wish we learned this type of stuff in school. That would improve the society so much more, cause even more people will know this stuff:)

  30. I watched this before my thesis defense last Friday and nailed it! as usual thanks Thomas! youre my go to life saver in my entire mba life and im almost done 😊

  31. Understand to share your ideas
    Intellectual/philosophical fact/storytelling for opening, use analogies/metaphors
    Audience interaction

  32. Hi Thomas, First of all, Congratulations for your video. You shared some good tips for us to improve our presentations. We would like to suggest that you speak a little bit more slowly. We are not all native speakers. Besides we are taking a course on presentations and there is a rule that says we should speak more slowly than normal.Thanks for sharing your ideas.Susana.

  33. Every time, when I click to watch your video, its starting from the 0.00 seconds. Could you please extend it somewhere to 0.03 to 0.05 seconds, by giving an intro page to the video that loads for 1 second. Just a suggestion Tom Frank!

  34. To be honest, I don't really think that stories and interaction with the audience would be pertinent in every single presentation situation, since on almost the majority of them you gotta be quick and go straight to the point. But can be useful for some people I guess. :º)

  35. Well thanks! Those 4 tips really felt like a lot of information! I will be applying them to the many videos I will be making. Thumbs up!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *