Sep 11, 2012
Cece Salomon-Lee

Presentation 101: The Brilliance of Speaking Simply


The last two weeks has been a master class on how to present brilliantly or poorly as that may be. While I am admittedly a Democrat and mainly watched the Democrat National Conference, my points¬†are not based on party affiliation. Rather it’s about the power of speaking simply to convey a message.

This is an issue not related solely to politicians, but any person who presents publicly. A powerful speaker is remembered long after the speech has concluded. And the single quality that all memorable speakers have? Simplicity.

Here are four tips to brilliant speaking:

Tell a story

Telling a story helps to draw your audience in – it has a beginning, middle and end. A story can convey a message so much more powerfully than any talking point. When possibly, weave your key points into a relevant story to personalize it for your audience.

Eliminate jargon

Too often, we fall into the habit of speaking in industry acronyms or jargon. While there are appropriate occasions for this language, from my perspective, the jargon gets in the way. It can become a crutch to using clear language to convey your message.

Vary your cadence

Be mindful of the cadence of your presentation. We tend to fall into one “speed” when we speak, which can lead to a “monotone” presentation. Review your presentation to pinpoint what type of emotion you want to convey. For example, if you want to highlight an important point, pausing for 1-2 seconds before delivering the key point signals to your audience to pay attention.

Whereas, in some points, you may want to use stacatto, brief sentences to quicken the pace and excitement of what you’re stating.

Be direct

Our tendency is to build up to our main point. We lay out the facts. Point out the supporting points. And then with the flair of a magician, ta da! We unveil our key point. Instead, turn this paradigm around. You audience has a short attention span. Start with your conclusion first and then map back to it.


After watching the DNC most of last week, the presentations I remembered did not happen to be President Obama’s. Rather it was President Clinton and John Kerry. Each had his own style. His own message. But each delivered well and incorporated one or more of the above four points.

What tips would do you have?

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Cece Salomon-LeeCece Salomon-Lee is director of product marketing for Lanyon Solutions, Inc. and author of PR Meets Marketing, which explores the intersection of public relations, marketing, and social media.

This blog contains Cece's personal opinions and are not representative of her company's.

Learn more about Cece.

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