Start with the subject, not the context

by Pierre Morsa — July 2, 2019

You know these presenters who speak for 20 minutes before they finally understand what they are talking about? I had a colleague who was just like that. When I asked him why he couldn’t do a shorter introduction, he said that he felt that all the details he gave in his opening were indispensable to understand the presentation. In other words, he was taking the time to explain the context before talking about his subject. That sounded good in theory. The problem was, because nobody knew what the exact subject was, the elements of context had no meaning and were extremely boring. Making matters worse, because my colleague had not started by identifying the subject, he rambled for much longer than what was really necessary.

However, correcting that problem is fairly easy.

Start by presenting the “why you are talking today,” the key topics, before anything else. If these topics cannot be understood without context, then they are not clear enough, and should be reformulated.

Only once you have done that can you present the context. Avoid the “all you can eat” approach, only give the minimum necessary to understand the key topics.

This simple method will make your presentations much more interesting from the beginning, and much easier to follow for your audience.

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