Ever seen a TEDtalk? Probably you have and you might remember some in particular. Those speeches are catchy, but why? Presentation-expert Victor Vlam explains in five steps the secret of an overwhelmingly speech or presentation.

He did this during the Brown Bag lecture on 2 October in the Erasmus Paviljoen. Vlam is an expert concerning debating and presentations and worked on both Obama campaigns in 2008 and 2012. According to Vlam anyone can learn how to give a presentation in a way your message sticks in the minds of your audience. Naturally, Vlam could tell his audience – about thirty students and employees of Erasmus University – in an inspiring way the five steps of an amazing speech. Here we go:

  1. Tell a story with a beginning, a middle and an end

    Don’t tell dry facts in a powerpoint presentation, but try to pose a question, or a mystery, so your audience becomes curious about  the outcome. Then discuss a possible solution that is incorrect to keep the right outcome a little bit longer in the dark. The next step is to give the right outcome and explain this further.

  2. Capture the attention

    “The first minute is essential to grab the attention”, Vlam says. In several examples of TED talks he shows different ways to do so: make a personal confession, tell an anecdote or ask a rhetorical question. Making a joke is also a good way to get the listeners on your side. Al Gore for example, used this method successfully by starting his speech with: “I used to be the next president of the United States”.

  3. To make it memorable

    Do something unexpected or act a little bit crazy and your audience will remember your message better. Show people something so they feel and experience your moral of the story. Peter van Uhm, former Dutch Chief of Defence, did this by bringing up a rifle (at 1.30 minute) on stage to emphasize his message. And you may know the TED talk of Jamie Oliver about sugar in school milk (at 12.20 minute) among other things. To show how much suger a child ingests during his or her school time, he throws a wheelbarrow full of suger cubes on stage. This impressed the audience more then only telling the facts.

    Joe Smith involves his audience in a talk about paper towels
  4. Involve your audience

    Your audience likes it to play a role in the presentation, and people tend to listen more closely if they get involved. A nice example is the TED talk of Joe Smith (at 1.30 minute) about how to dry your hands with one paper towel instead of using plenty of them.

  5. Finish inspiringly

    “Well folks, I’m done. Thanks for your attention.” That’s terrible to end with, Vlam laughs. “You need to come up with a nugget and the applause will follow automatically.” Obama is a good example of using a three-part list: a powerful enumeration of three things. An example can be found in his speech about the situation in Egypt in 2011, where he said: “An orderly transition must be meaningful, it must be peaceful and it must begin now.” Also effective is using a contrast, for example: “My opponent wants to raise taxes. I want to lower them.” LJ