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Practice the half-way



Having interviewed more than 37,000 people, Oprah Winfrey says that only one thing applies to everybody she’s talked to, from Obama to Lady Gaga: “Everyone you meet just wants to be seen and heard.”

No matter who you’re sitting with, what her job title is or his role in the company, that famous line of Oprah’s applies to everybody you meet, including those you meet while doing a presentation.

“But that’s different, isn’t it?” you must be thinking. “In a presentation I’m doing the talking and they’re doing the listening.”

Wrong.

Oprah has talked to more people than you and I together will ever talk to in our entire lives, and she’s very clear: she says everybody.

So let’s follow Oprah for now.

Let’s assume that the people at your presentation want to feel seen and heard. How can you make sure this happens?

  • First, cut out the jargon. Jargon creates a barrier between those who use it and those who don’t, and it doesn’t help people to feel included.

  • Second, try to speak as if you’re talking to a friend. How would you present your information to someone you trust and want to help?

  • Third, think about how you want to your audience to feel, and create a presentation that delivers your message while conveying the emotions that help them understand, believe and trust it.

No matter whether you’re making a presentation or telling a story, storytelling logic can be very simply applied to your communication: always meet people half-way in a place where they hear what you have to say as if it is about them.

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