How often are you introduced to someone and you quickly forget their name? Or you attend a meeting and shortly after cannot recall what was discussed?
Research by Dr. Art Markman (University of Texas) has shown that your memory of an event (introductions, business event, a meeting, hockey game, car accident, etc.) is organized around three separate things that you experienced during that event. This is because your brain can typically only pay attention to three “sub events” at one time and then tends to organize all of your memories around these sub events.
Dr. Markman calls this the “Role of 3.”
A few months ago I purchased Talk Like TED: The 9 Public-Speaking Secrets of the World’s Top Minds with my monthly Audible subscription (I listen to books when I am driving or at the gym…maybe another blog post on this at some point). I was so impressed with the book that I bought a hardcover version so that I could read it and take some detailed notes.
Talk Like TED interested me because I am always trying to improve myself in all areas of professional development. Although I will never be a Tony Robbins or a Sir Ken Robinson, I do quite a few presentations in the course of a year so any improvement that I can make in how I present will make a positive impact in my career. And, if a person is going to get tips on presentations, what better source to turn to than the world’s premier public speaking events!
Carmine Gallo did an outstanding job in boiling down the best TED presentations and establishing nine common elements that each of us can incorporate into our own presentations:
Have you ever experienced a situation where you presented an idea or proposal to a person or group of people and you thought your presentation was clear and concise, easy to understand and persuasive, only to have your audience completely disengaged, totally confused or completely opposed to what you were presenting?
I think we have all experienced presentations like this at various times in our careers. This can be quite a common experience if the culture of your audience is different than yours or if the audience is a mix of cultures. In today’s global business world, this can describe almost every meeting or presentation we do!
The subtle and sometimes not so subtle differences between our cultures can cause tremendous misunderstanding and misalignment in all aspects of our communication. If we want to be successful in today’s world of business, it is critical that we spend time to understand our audience and adjust our presentation and communication style to match those we are presenting to. Tony Jeary talks about this in his book Life is a Series of Presentations. In this book he lists eight Presentation Essentials. Number one on his list is “Know Your Audience”, number five is “Build Bridges” and number eight is “Flex for Success”. Essentially he is saying that you go into a presentation after researching your audience, use that knowledge to bridge culture and communication gaps and read the audience all the way through the presentation so that you can flex your presentation to what is resonating most with them.