Friday, February 03, 2012

Effective Presentations - Organization

Being able to find humor, stories, quotes and other speech material when you need it is very important. It is very frustrating to know you have a piece of material, but you can't find it. Some type of system of organizing all this material is essential to efficient preparation.

A file and cross-reference system will help you keep track of your material. I use both a computer and hard copy filing system. Both have advantages, so don't worry if you don't have a computer.

On the computer I keep separate files for all the different topics I cover in my presentations and also for the different parts and categories of speeches like Response to Introduction and Openings. You can also do this with three-by-five cards or in a regular file box or cabinet. I make files for categories of specialty humor like roasts and toasts and I also make files for the different parts of a talk like response to introduction, openings, and closings. When I'm preparing a talk, all I have to do is open the file on that topic and pick the information I want to use. I copy this material to another file named for the group to which I'm speaking.

Some information in my topic files may be duplicated in other topic files. This is basic cross-referencing. For instance, one of my signature stories about my dog, Freeway, makes several different points. It can be used as a customer service story, to illustrate going the extra mile, reacting under pressure, or thinking quickly. Since it is a story involving an animal, it could be told to a group of animal lovers. Consequently, this story shows up in many of my topic files.

Effective presentations are easier than you think!

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