REBEL Cast Ep 45: How to Build a Great Presentation

What’s Wrong With Lectures/Presentations Now?

  • Lecturing style has remained stagnant despite the fact that our understanding of how people learn has changed.
  • Most presentations make the supportive media (i.e. slides) the focus of the presentation without thought about the story or the delivery.
  • Lectures are too focused on the educator instead of focusing on the needs of the learner.

Episode 45 – How to Build a Great Presentation

Click here for Direct Download of Podcast

So Why is it so Important to Lecture Well?

  • Lecture is ubiquitous and not going anywhere, so if we are going to do it, we might as well do it well
  • “Anyone who tries to make a distinction between education and entertainment doesn’t know the first thing about either.” Marshall McLuhan

3 Parts to Any Good Lecture/Argument:

  • Aristotle
    • Ethos (Credibility/Expertise)
    • Pathos (Emotion)
    • Logos (Logic)
  • Ross Fisher
    • The Story
    • The Supportive Media
    • The Performance

8 Steps to Developing a Great Presentation:

  • Step 1 – Become Inspired by the Great Speakers
  • Step 2 – Create a Narrative/Story That You are Passionate About
    • What about the topic makes your heart sing?
    • “The only way to do great work is to love what you do.” Steve Jobs
  • Step 3 – Brainstorming (Get Ideas Out of Your Head)
    • Ditch the computer and go analog (pad and pencil)
    • What frees your mind? (i.e. Exercise, Notepads, Index Cards, Post it Notes, Mind Maps)
  • Step 4 – Crafting Your Message
    • What are the critical things your learners need to take away from your presentation
    • What is your core message (The crux of your talk)
    • 2 – 4 teaching points that revolve around your core message (This depends on the length of your talk: 15 min, 30 min, 60 min)
    • Essentially in this step you can summarize your talk in 2 – 3 sentences (i.e The Elevator Pitch)
  • Step 5 – Building Your Presentation Skeleton
    • Developing a flow to your talk (i.e. Storyboarding, Writing an Outline)
    • Can do this analog or digital (I.e. PowerPoint, Keynote etc)
    • At the end of this process you have a slide deck of nothing but empty slides with presenter notes identifying the details/point of each slide
  • Step 6 – Fill Up Your Slides (Creation of Your Supportive Media)
    • Start filling slides with hi-resolution images, not lines and lines of text
    • Reading from a PowerPoint slide is not the same thing as teaching
    • Our minds cannot process audio and visual content at the same time, but given the choice we tend to read instead of listen
    • Some Sites with Hi-Resolution Images:
  • Step 7 – Rehearse and Practice Your Talk
    • “I fear not the man who has practiced 10,000 kicks once, but I fear the man who has practiced one kick 10,000 times.” Bruce Lee
    • Focus on the introduction and conclusion of your talk because these are the most memorable for the audience
    • Practice until you are comfortable with the information in a talk (i.e. Imagine the power goes out and you have to give your presentation without your slides)
    • You don’t have to practice the talk from beginning to end, you can actually practice chunks of your talk at a time before doing the full rehearsal
  • Step 8 – Seek and Get Feedback on Your Talk
    • Bounce ideas off friends (i.e. Buddy System)
    • Record yourself speaking and give it a listen or ask a friend to listen
    • Have someone in the audience who you trust to give you specific feedback on your talk (i.e. delivery, performance, slides, etc…)
    • In smaller group formats, hand out index cards and after the talk have the audience write 3 things they learned from your talk.  Then see if there is harmony between what your teaching points and what the learner took away

Websites/Textbooks Mentioned During the Podcast:

  1. P Cubed Presentations – p1 (The Story), p2 (The Supportive Media, p3 (The Delivery)
  2. Presentation Zen by Garr Reynolds
  3. Keynotable

Post Peer Reviewed By: Salim R. Rezaie (Twitter: @srrezaie)

Cite this article as: Anand Swaminathan, "REBEL Cast Ep 45: How to Build a Great Presentation", REBEL EM blog, February 5, 2018. Available at:

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