only one thing, not everything

Tell me only one thing

The default mode for presenting is this:

“I’m going to tell you everything I know and when I’m done, you are going to be convinced.”

Of course, we all know how that usually turns out.

The thing is that “everything” is often quite a lot. It’s overwhelming not only for your audience but also for yourself because it’s hard to find the clarity to speak about “everything”. It’s hard to find a structure that makes it easy for your audience to follow along when you speak about “everything”.

A much easier and much more effective way of approaching a presentation is this:

“Don’t tell me everything but tell me only one thing and make it the most interesting thing.”

Make it the thing that makes your audience curious, that’s most surprising or most exciting for them. When you do this and when it really matters, i.e. when they really care about that thing, then they will want you to tell them more. If it’s exciting they will even beg you to tell them more.

And of course you do.

But not by telling them everything but by telling them the next thing that’s so interesting that they will want you to tell them more. And then you do it again and again and again. You drag them down a rabbit hole, drag them ever deeper and make them curious. You lead them up to the point where you’ve actually convinced them.

So, when preparing your next presentation don’t tell me everything. Tell me only one thing and make it the one thing that makes me want you to tell me more. It’s so much easier to prepare. It makes it so much easier to find the clarity to structure your presentation. And it’s so much more interesting to listen to.

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Dr. Michael Gerharz

Dr. Michael Gerharz

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