I remember the very first time I lost a debate to one of my kids. My oldest daughter was about 2 at the time. We were sitting at our kitchen table snacking on some fresh “squeaky cheese” and water. My wife was in the kitchen putting away dishes. In between rounds of emptying the dishwasher and walking to the cabinets, she grabbed her glass of water and took a sip. Rattling around the bottom of her glass was a lemon wedge. Instantly an idea surged into my daughter’s mind. “Daddy, can I put cheese in my water?”
“No, Honey. We don’t put cheese in water. That’s icky.”
“But Mommy has lemon in her water. That’s icky, too.”
And like that, I was stumped. I’m a rational person. Analytical. Open-minded. Fair. And her logic was sound, especially, for a 2 year-old. Who am I to question what flavor water she would enjoy? In a world marketed full of crazy-ass food-in-water combos, whether it’s a lemon, lime, orange crush, cucumber, or cheese curd, they all serve the same purpose – they flavor water.
Impressed, I glanced at my wife with a twinge of uncertainty, laced with an air of acceptance and surrender. “You’re right, Sweet Pea. If you want to put the cheese in your water, go right ahead.” I paused for a second then asked, “So, how does it taste?”
“Good” she said with a satisfying gulp, placing the glass back on the table.
Damn…I got schooled.
My kids spit at each other. It’s the lip smacking kind, not the loogie kind. I don’t understand why they do it. For some reason they think its funny, I guess. I find it offensive and disgusting. I think one of the most degrading things a person can do is spit at another person. Whenever they do it I tell them, “Don’t spit. It’s disgusting.”That’s a fairly straightforward message, right? The message is short and clear. This should be the same idea for your message(s) to your audience. It is much more beneficial and understandable if you keep it simple.
Have a Clear Message
The crux of any good presentation is its message. All talks need one (or two). Just be wary not to have too many, which could muddle the effectiveness of your talk. In research writing, the message is equivalent to your conclusion(s). What is the most important thing you want your audience to learn? This is your topic sentence in writing. It needs to address the “Why they should care?” or “How does this affect me?” curiosities of your audience. If you were to poll your audience after your talk and ask them what is the one thing they learned, this should be everyone’s response.
During your planning and preparation the message should be the first thing you incorporate into your actual presentation layout or design. And when you present, it should come up early and often with some emphasis. Don’t wait until the very end of your talk to reveal your message. It should be stated near the beginning of your talk. It should be clear and concise. You want people to know what they should care about and why. Then it is up to you to justify it with the rest of your talk.
Bare Necessities of Successful Design
Once you have considered visuals, data, and consequences, you can move on to the preparation of your presentation. This opens up a very dangerous Pandora’s box of options for you. The ease of using presentation software like PowerPoint, Keynote, and Prezi (to name a few) gives way too much power to the novice speaker. The opportunity to mix in cool fonts and awesome animations is very appealing. Try your best to avoid diving into that rabbit hole until you better understand graphic design. Start smart. Start easy. When laying out presentation slides, here are a few things to pay attention to:
Parenting & Public Speaking. Together
The behaviors, experiences, and techniques parents use everyday can improve YOUR NEXT BIG SPEECH. Whether it be using silly voices or just playing with the kids, these actions improve self-confidence, stage presence, and audience engagement. And that’s just the beginning…