Author Archives: Justin O'Brien

Maximizing Engagement: Interacting with Visual Aids in Your Presentation

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As a presenter, visual aids can be invaluable for conveying your message and engaging your audience. However, simply displaying the visuals is not enough; you must also interact with them to maximize their impact. In this blog post, we will explore various techniques to interact with your visual aids.


The Touch-Turn-Talk method is an effective and engaging way for presenters to interact with visual aids during their presentations. By touching (or gesturing to) the visual aid, turning to face the audience, and then talking about it, a presenter can ensure that they remain connected to the audience while discussing the visual.

This connection is created by maintaining eye contact with their audience while still utilizing the visual to illustrate their point. This ensures that the audience remains engaged instead of simply looking at the visuals without listening to what is being said. Furthermore, the Touch-Turn-Talk method helps to allow the presenter to have a more natural and conversational style when discussing the visual aid.

This method can also help to keep the presenter focused on their presentation. By touching the visual aid, turning to face the audience, and then talking about it, the presenter can ensure that they are talking about the visuals and not just talking to or reading from the visuals.

“Load Aim Fire”

The “Load, Aim, Fire” concept is a powerful tool used to effectively communicate information to an audience.

It is a process that can be used with any type of reference material, such as a book or article, to help ensure that the information is delivered effectively and accurately.

The process is simple, yet highly effective and can be used in any setting, such as the classroom, boardroom, or even in a public speaking setting.

The first step in the “Load, Aim, Fire” process is to “load” the information into your brain from the reference material. You do this by looking at the material and refreshing your memory. This should be a glance as you should be familiar with the information.

Once you have loaded the information into your brain, the next step is to “aim” your focus on one person in the audience using your eye contact.

Finally, the third and final step is to “fire” or deliver the information to that person. This may be for 2 or 3 seconds before you move onto the next person. When you have completed that thought you look back down and repeat the process.

Moving from One Side of the Screen to the Other

When using visual aids, it’s useful to move from one side of the screen to the other to direct the audience’s attention to specific areas of the visual. When doing this we do it in silence so we don’t lose connection with the audience.

Vocalizing Where You Are on the Slide

Another useful technique is vocalizing where you are on the slide to bring the audience’s attention to a specific point. For example, you can say, “on the top right of the screen, you will see,” and then talk about the point you want to emphasize. This technique helps the audience follow along with the presentation and ensures that they stay on track.

Using the B Key in PowerPoint

The B key in PowerPoint is a useful tool to send the screen to black when the presenter wants to draw the audience’s attention away from the visuals and back to them. This technique can be an opportunity to summarise what has just become before, to signal a transition, or regain the audience’s attention after a brief diversion. This works by pressing the the letter B key when you are slide show mode.

 It’s understandable that some of these techniques might feel a bit robotic at first, but with practice, they will become more natural. Just remember the sole purpose of these techniques is to prevent you from talking to the screen and losing your connection with the audience.

Boost Your Learning and Development Initiatives: Applying Mayer’s 15 Principles of Multimedia Learning

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The basic premise of Richard Mayer’s Theory of Multimedia Learning is “that we can learn more deeply from words and pictures together than we can from just words alone.“ Multimedia learning uses text, graphics, audio, video, and other media of communication to deliver information.

How successful we are in using these modes will determine how effective our learning programs will be. Mayer’s principles provide a great framework for achieving this. In this blog post, we will discuss these principles and explore how they can be applied to enhance employee training and development.

Mayer’s 15 Principles of Multimedia Learning

Applying Mayer’s Principles can improve the effectiveness of learning material in the following ways:

  1. Multimedia principle – The use of words and visuals together is more effective than using words alone.
  2. Modality principle – People learn better from graphics and narration than from on-screen text.
  3. Redundancy principle – Avoid presenting the same information in multiple formats.
  4. Coherence principle – Organise and present material logically and meaningfully.
  5. Signalling principle – Highlight key concepts and important information.
  6. Spatial contiguity principle – Present graphics and corresponding text close together.
  7. Temporal contiguity principle – Present graphics and narration simultaneously.
  8. Segmenting principle – Break material into smaller, manageable segments.
  9. Pre-training principle – Activate prior knowledge before presenting new material.
  10. Individual differences principle – Consider the learner’s prior knowledge and experience.
  11. Guided discovery principle – Encourage exploration and discovery but provide guidance.
  12. Image principle – Use relevant images to enhance learning.
  13. Modality principle for text – Use conversational language and avoid technical jargon.
  14. Personalization principle – Use a conversational tone and address the learner directly.
  15. Voice principle – Use a pleasant and human-like voice for narration.

Applying Mayer’s 15 Principles in Your Business

To apply Mayer’s 15 principles of multimedia learning in your business, consider:

  1. Identify learning objectives – Determine what you want employees to know and be able to do.
  2. Choose multimedia elements – select graphics, narration, and text that support the learning objectives.
  3. Consider the audience – Understand the employee’s prior knowledge, experience, and learning preferences.
  4. Use a consistent design – Maintain a consistent look and feel throughout the learning material.
  5. Follow the principles in sequence – Follow the principles in a logical sequence to ensure coherence and effectiveness.

Benefits of Applying Mayer’s 15 Principles in Business

By applying Mayer’s principles, you can improve employee learning in several ways, for example.

  1. Improved understanding.
  2. Increased engagement.
  3. Increased retention and
  4. Better transfer of knowledge


Mayer’s 15 principles of multimedia learning provide a solid framework for creating effective and engaging learning material.

Whether you are creating an e-learning course, developing a multimedia presentation, or designing a training program, Mayer’s principles can help ensure that your material is both effective and engaging.

8 Factors to Consider for Choosing the Perfect Words in Your Presentation

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As a presenter, the words you choose can make or break your presentation. It’s essential to choose the right words to effectively communicate your message and engage your audience, no matter if you are trying to inform, educate, persuade, or entertain them. Here are eight key things to consider when selecting the right words for your presentation:


Understanding your audience is critical when selecting the right words. It is important to consider the background, expertise, and preferences of your audience when choosing the language, tone, and level of detail that you use. For example, if you are presenting to a group of school teachers, you should use language that is understandable and appealing to them, rather than technical jargon that may be more suitable for a technical audience.


When selecting words for your presentation, it is important to consider the purpose of the presentation. Depending on the objective, different words will be more effective. For instance, if you are attempting to persuade your audience, it can be beneficial to use words that evoke emotions or have associations that back up your argument. For example, if delivering a sales pitch for a new product, language emphasizing its benefits and distinctiveness, like ‘cutting-edge’, ‘groundbreaking’, and ‘transformative’ could be employed.


Clarity is an essential element of effective communication. When crafting your message, use clear, concise, and easy-to-understand language. Avoid technical jargon or overly complex language that may confuse your audience. Instead, opt for simple, straightforward words that are easy to follow and will ensure that everyone in the audience fully understands the procedures and protocols. For example, in a safety training session, use clear and concise language to ensure that everyone understands the instructions.

Be concise

Choose concise words and avoid long-winded sentences for maximum impact. Utilize succinct, vibrant expressions when speaking in a motivational manner, e.g. ‘persevere’, ‘brimming with excitement’, and ‘energetically pursuing, to captivate your listeners.


Words can evoke powerful emotions in your audience. Choose words that will bring out the emotions you wish to evoke in your listeners. If you want to move your audience to action, use encouraging and optimistic words. In a tribute speech, for instance, use words that may bring about feelings of sorrow, like ‘commemorate’, ‘treasured’, and ‘legacy’.

Power words

Some words have more impact than others. For example, words like ‘proven’, ‘successful’, ‘best’, and ‘expert’ carry a lot of weight. Use power words that are appropriate for your message and audience. For example, you may want to use power words that emphasize your expertise and credibility, such as ‘innovative solution’, ‘proven methodology’, and ‘track record of success’


Repetition can be an effective way to ensure your message is remembered. Consider repeating key words or phrases throughout your presentation to emphasize your point. For example, if you are launching a new brand, repeating the brand name and tagline throughout the presentation can help your audience remember it more easily. This repetition can be used to create a lasting impression and help your message stay in their minds.


Imagery: Words have the power to create vivid, captivating visuals in the minds of your audience. By using descriptive language that paints a vivid picture of your message, you can help your audience better comprehend and recall your message. For instance, when discussing a new product launch, instead of just saying “the product is innovative,” you could portray it as “a ground-breaking, cutting-edge device that’s poised to revolutionize the industry.” Descriptive words such as “ground-breaking” and “cutting-edge” help to build a captivating mental image of the product and its potential influence, making it more memorable for your audience.

 Let’s take a real-life example to illustrate the importance of selecting the right words. Imagine you’re giving a presentation on a new eco-friendly car to an audience of environmentally conscious consumers. Your purpose is to convince them to consider purchasing the car. To captivate your audience, you might use persuasive words like “proven fuel efficiency,” “zero emissions,” and “sustainable transportation.” You could also choose descriptive words that create positive feelings like “luxurious ride,” “sleek design,” and “silent operation.” By choosing words that are meaningful to your audience and perfectly align with your purpose, your presentation will have a greater likelihood of being effective and making an impact.

In conclusion, selecting the right words for your presentation is essential to effectively communicate your message and engage your audience. To do this, consider factors such as your audience’s background and preferences, the purpose of your presentation, clarity, conciseness, evoking emotions, using power words, repetition, and incorporating imagery. By taking these factors into account, you will be able to craft a powerful and impactful presentation that will leave a lasting impression on your audience.

Capture Your Audience: The Power of an Effective Hook in Your Presentations

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A hook or a creative opening is a powerful tool to grab the audience’s attention and engage them in your presentation. Here are 5 types of hooks you can use to start your presentation in a creative and memorable way:

1. Anecdote – Start with a personal story that relates to your topic and captures the audience’s attention.

“I’ll never forget the first time I saw the impact of food waste up close. I was volunteering at a soup kitchen, and they showed me the amount of perfectly good food that was being thrown away by local restaurants. That moment was a wake-up call for me, and it’s part of what inspired me to start making a difference.”

2. Question – Pose an intriguing or thought-provoking question that encourages the audience to think about your topic.

“Have you ever thought about the amount of food we waste every day? Did you know that it has a significant impact on our environment and economy?”

3. Statistic – Provide a surprising or impactful statistic that highlights the significance of your topic.

“According to a recent study, the average American household throws away approximately $1,500 worth of food each year. That’s a staggering amount of waste, and it’s time for us to start making a change.”

4. Quotation – Begin with a quote that inspires, motivates, or sets the tone for your presentation.

“As the famous chef and food activist, Alice Waters, once said: ‘Waste is not just a monetary problem, it’s a moral problem.’ Let’s work together to reduce food waste and make a positive impact.”

5. Paradox – Present a surprising or seemingly contradictory statement that challenges the audience’s assumptions.

“It may sound counterintuitive, but the less food we waste, the more food we have to feed the world. By reducing food waste, we can address both hunger and environmental problems.”

When shouldn’t you use a hook

There may be certain situations where using a hook might not be the most effective choice, such as:

  1. Formal or serious occasion: If the context of your presentation is formal or serious in nature, a hook may not be appropriate. For example, a eulogy or a boardroom presentation.
  2. Limited audience interaction: If the presentation is a one-way communication where the audience has limited interaction, a hook may not be necessary. For example, a lecture or a speech delivered to a large audience.
  3. Technical or data-driven presentation: If the presentation is focused on presenting technical information or data, a hook may not be the most effective choice. In these cases, a direct introduction or a clear outline of the content may be more appropriate.
  4. Familiar audience: If the audience is already familiar with the content, a hook may not be necessary as they are already engaged.
  5. Time constraints: If the presentation has a limited time frame, it may not be appropriate to spend time on a hook, as it may take away from the content.

In general, it’s important to consider the context, audience, and goals of your presentation when deciding whether or not to use a hook. If it is not relevant, appropriate, or necessary, it’s best to focus on delivering your message in the most direct and effective manner.

When should you plan the hook?

A hook should be a natural and organic part of your presentation, not something that you force or manipulate. The hook should reflect the essence and purpose of your presentation, not dictate its direction.

It’s best to plan your presentation first, including the main points, key takeaways, and desired outcomes. Once you have a solid understanding of the content, you can then consider what type of hook will best serve your goals and effectively engage your audience.

In this way, the hook will be a natural fit for your presentation, and you’ll be able to use it to enhance the overall experience for your audience, rather than detract from it.

What are some notable hooks?

Some hooks that are often cited as effective and memorable include:

Steve Jobs’ “Here’s to the crazy ones” quote from his 1997 introduction of the Apple Mac.

Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech, which started with an anecdote about the Emancipation Proclamation.

Oprah Winfrey’s use of personal stories and anecdotes to connect with her audience and deliver powerful messages.

Elon Musk’s opening question, “How many of you want to live on Mars?” from his 2017 International Astronautical Congress speech.

These hooks have become famous in part because they effectively engaged the audience, set the tone, and provided a memorable introduction to the content of the presentation. However, the impact and effectiveness of a hook can also vary depending on the individual presentation and the audience it was intended for.


A well-chosen hook can elevate your presentation by capturing your audience’s attention and setting the tone. Choose the right type for your message and audience to create a memorable introduction and a lasting impact. Make your next presentation stand out with a powerful hook.

How To Memorise Your Presentation

2.5 Words

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There are many techniques we can use to remember our presentation. Even when we have gone blank! In this post we’ll explore three ways to help improve your memory. If remembering a lot of detail is important to you, I suggest you get a copy of The Memory Book by Harry Lorayne and Jerry Lucas.

My favourite method for remembering a presentation is called the Method of Loci. The Loci method is a specific type of mnemonic that uses visualization and spatial memory to help remember information.

Let’s say you are to give a presentation to a team of employees at a company. The main points of your presentation are:

  1. Introduce yourself
  2. Introduce the team members
  3. Outline the agenda for the meeting
  4. Discuss the first agenda item in detail
  5. Discuss the second agenda item in detail
  6. Discuss the third agenda item in detail
  7. Conclude the meeting and summarize the main points

To use the Loci method, you would first choose a familiar place that you know well, such as your own house.

As you walk up to the front of the house, you see a plaque with the name of the house on it. But this time, the plaque has your name on it, which reminds you to introduce yourself to the team.

As you walk in the front door, you notice a table on the left with a visitors’ book containing all the members of your team. You work through the visitor’s book, introducing each team member to the audience.

As you look down the hall, you see signs outside every room. These are all different, some painted, some neon, some flashing bulbs, some with a light shining on the sign. These signs represent your agenda and are very different from each other, so you will remember them easily. You deliver your agenda to the audience.

You walk into the first room, and work through your first agenda item as different objects in the room represent different aspects you need to talk about. You continue to work through each room until you get to the kitchen at the back of the house, where there is a menu on the table listing the main points that you have just spoken about. This is your summary.

As you look at the fridge, you notice an A4 poster, which is a picture of a team huddling at half-time. This reminds you of your main point, which is your conclusion.

By using the Loci method in this way, you are able to associate each main point of the presentation with a specific location and visual cue, making it easier to remember the information during the presentation.

There are several other techniques that can be used to memorize a presentation, including:

  1. Rehearsing: Repeatedly practicing and delivering the presentation can help commit it to memory.
  2. Chunking: Dividing the presentation into smaller, manageable chunks can make it easier to memorize.
  3. Visualization: Creating visual representations of key points can help embed them in memory. The more bazar the better.
  4. Elaboration: Adding additional information and personal anecdotes to key points can make them more memorable.
  5. Storytelling: Organizing the presentation as a story can make it more engaging and easier to remember and
  6. Mind Mapping: organizing the ideas in a mind map can help you to visualize the whole presentation and it will be easier to memorize.

It’s important to note that different techniques may work better for different people, so it’s a good idea to experiment with a few different methods to find what works best for you.

It’s not difficult to Structure a Presentation as Story

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In our last post we spoke about using anecdotes in a presentation. But we can also structure our entire presentation as a story. And its not that hard to build the foundations of a good story. Once you have the basics you can then refine your content to make it compelling and engaging.

Story telling Basics:

Set the Scene

Start by telling your audience the most important details of the story. Set the scene with a clear explanation of the context and what’s at stake. This will help them understand why they should care.

Show the Conflict

Now that your audience knows the setup, show them the conflict. Explain the challenge or problem you’re trying to solve. This will help them empathize with the story.

Describe the Resolution

Finally, explain how you overcame the challenge or solved the problem. Give details about the process and the result.


Once you’ve taken your audience through the story, end with a strong conclusion to emphasize the point. Your conclusion should include a call to action. Encourage your audience to apply what they’ve learned to their own lives

Why do stories work?

In his book Moving Mountains  Henry Boettinger puts it like this. “Present your idea in this structure and sequence: statement of the problem, development of its relevant aspects, and resolution of the problem and its development.  Use this structure and you send your idea rolling down the well-worn grooves of the human mind.  Ignore it and you send it into rocky, unknown canyons from which it may never return.”

You will notice that the four steps outlined above are represented in the Boettinger quotes above. But we still need a bit more detail in order to build out our presentation. Fortunately we have the SCORE method developed by Dr. Andrew Abela.

S stands for situation (setting the scene), Co stands for Complication (showing the conflict), R for Resolution (describe the resolution) and E for Example. The example has been added as a separate step because in a business presentation you need evidence in every sequence to convince your audience that your resolution will work.

At the beginning of a business presentation we start with the Situation and let the audience know why we are there, we then grab their attention and identify the biggest issue we are trying to resolve for them (Co), we give the over-arching solution (R), tell them why it will work in general terms and provide some evidence (E).

Next we move onto the next complication, resolution and example. But the way we get there is to ask “yeh but” from our audiences perspective, what would be their likely objection to our solution. For example they may say – but that sounds expensive. That’s our next complication. we provide a resolution and then an example. Then keep asking “yeh but” until we have cleaned up all the audiences potential objections.

So it’s SCoRE then CoRE, CoRE etc,

What we have done is brought the audience into the story, they become a key character in the story.

There you have it a very simple formula for developing a story.

The Power of Anecdotes: Transform Your Public Speaking with Captivating Stories!

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When crafting a presentation, there are two ways we can use stories – as anecdotes to emphasize a point and support evidence or as the foundation of the entire presentation itself. In this blog post we will look at how to structure an anecdote and will provide you with a generic example. These examples are more of a framework than an actual story as they lack the details, but are useful nonetheless. In a subsequent post we’ll look at how to structure an entire presentation so it takes on the shape of a story.

Using Stories as Anecdotes in Presentations

Grammarly defines an anecdote as a short, self-contained story that usually highlights one theme, lesson, or aspect of a person’s character and can be true or fictional. They are often used in presentations to break the ice, make a point, or add a distinctive touch. Anecdotes can be especially helpful when presenting to an audience who might not be familiar with your topic. By using an anecdote, you can quickly draw in your audience and make them more receptive to the information you’re presenting. It can also help to make a point more memorable, as it is often easier to recall funny or personal stories rather than statistical facts or figures.

When using anecdotes in a presentation, it’s important to:

  • make sure they are relevant to the topic and appropriate for the audience.
  • keep the anecdote short and to the point, as you don’t want it to take too much time away from the main content of the presentation.
  • deliver the anecdote in a conversational tone. This will help to keep your audience engaged and make them more likely to remember the point you’re trying to make.
  • pause after telling the story, so the audience has a chance to digest the information.

When it comes to structuring anecdotes, there are many techniques that can be used. One of the most popular approaches is using the structure provided in Christopher Booker’s book, the Seven Basic Plots. This approach has been used by writers, screenwriters, and storytellers for years in order to craft compelling stories.

The first plot: overcoming the monster.

This plot focuses on the protagonist’s struggle against a powerful antagonist or ‘monster’ in order to achieve their goal. Whether it be an external foe or an internal conflict, this plot is all about overcoming obstacles in order to reach success.

Example: It was a daring move to launch a new product on the market, and in the beginning, it was met with some success. Our expectations were high, and we thought our success was assured. But soon, major frustration set in. We encountered obstacles that seemed insurmountable, and we felt that our product was doomed to failure. We had to find a way to overcome this challenge, or our product would never stand a chance. We worked tirelessly, exploring every possible avenue to make our product successful. We held brainstorming sessions with our team, and we sought advice from industry experts. Nothing seemed to give us the breakthrough we needed. We had reached the point of desperation and thought all hope was lost. But then, against all odds, we made a breakthrough. The breakthrough was so small that at first, it seemed insignificant, but we soon realized its potential. We modified our product to meet the needs of our target audience, and our sales skyrocketed. Our product was a huge success. We had gone through such a roller coaster of emotions, but we ultimately succeeded against the ultimate challenge.

The second plot: rags to riches.

This plot focuses on the protagonist’s journey from poverty or obscurity to wealth or fame. It is often used as a way of demonstrating personal growth and resilience in the face of hardship.

Mandy and John were two entrepreneurs looking to make their mark in the business world. They had heard of a business for sale and decided to take the plunge. They purchased the business, but when they arrived they realized the business was in pretty bad shape. The building was run down, the accounts were in disarray, and the employees were disgruntled. Mandy and John were undeterred, however, and determined to make something of the business. They worked hard to right the ship and soon found success. The building was renovated, the accounts were organized, and the employees were motivated. Mandy and John were elated with their progress, but soon realized that their main challenge was to make the business independent. Mandy and John faced this challenge head on, facing difficult decisions and long days. They worked tirelessly to make the business stand on its own. Finally, after much hard work, the business was in much better shape than when they bought it. Mandy and John had accomplished something great. They had turned a business in wretchedness into one of success. Through hard work and determination, they had made the business independent and were proud of what they had achieved.

The third plot: The Quest.

As its name implies, this plot follows a protagonist on their journey in search of something valuable or important. Along the way, they must overcome obstacles and learn life lessons before they can reach their destination and receive their reward at the end of their quest.

It was a difficult decision to make, but the board of directors had reached a conclusion: the company’s sales targets were not being achieved, and a major new product initiative was necessary. The board had high hopes for the project, but they knew that the road ahead would be filled with challenges. The team began their journey with a plan, but as they went looking for a solution, they soon encountered problems. Technical issues, regulatory hurdles, and financial constraints were all part of the challenge. Eventually, they thought they had found a solution, but it wasn’t so. The problems they were facing seemed insurmountable. But the team was determined to find a way, and they kept pushing forward. Finally, the team achieved their goal after months of hard work and dedication. They had managed to develop a new product that was successful in the market and met their sales targets. The team celebrated their success and looked back on the journey they had taken. They had faced some really big problems, but they persevered and never gave up. Their effort paid off in the end.

The fourth plot: Voyage and Return.

This plot follows a hero who embarks on an adventure before returning home with newfound knowledge or treasure that helps them achieve success in their life back home.

We were excited to attend the AI convention. We heard that there were going to be the latest and greatest technologies on show and couldn’t wait to experience them. When we arrived, we were astounded by the sheer amount of technology on display. We were particularly drawn to a new app that seemed incredibly advanced. We couldn’t keep our hands off it and without thinking, we installed it on our phones. At first, we were enthralled by the new technology and couldn’t believe how easy it made our lives. But then things started to go wrong. Instead of helping us, the app started to control us. We quickly realized that it was malicious and were desperate to uninstall it. Unfortunately, the app was incredibly difficult to get rid of and no matter what we tried, we couldn’t get rid of it. We spent hours going from one tech support person to another, trying to find a way to remove the app. Eventually, after many hours of frustration, we managed to uninstall it and return to normality. We were relieved that we were able to reverse the damage done by the malicious app and were thankful that we were able to get out of the nightmare we had found ourselves in.

The fifth plot: Comedy

This plot are based on different themes such as love, loss, marriage, and revenge which play out over multiple episodes until the hero finds his/her happy ending (or not).

John and I had been business partners for years, so it was a surprise when we began to disagree on every decision we made. At first, we thought it was just a temporary problem, but eventually, it became so bad that we stopped speaking altogether. The tension between us was unbearable, and nothing seemed to work no matter how hard we tried to resolve our differences. We were both so frustrated that we were close to giving up and walking away from the business. That’s when we decided to hire a business coach to help us work through our issues. The coach was able to unearth some new information that stopped the suspicions between us. We realized that we had both been wrong in our assumptions and were able to move forward with a new understanding. Finally, after months of disagreement, we were back on speaking terms again. We were both so relieved to have our partnership back on track and were determined to make the most of it.

The sixth plot: Rebirth.

This plot focus on characters being faced with difficult choices that ultimately lead them down a path of self-discovery and transformation towards redemption at the end of their story arc.

A business example of this plot is when a business faces a period of stagnancy or decline and needs to make difficult decisions in order to turn its fortunes around. This could involve taking risks and making changes to the way the business operates, or even changing the product or service offering. The business may have to try different tactics to find its footing, and in doing so, will gain insight into its weaknesses and strengths, allowing it to become stronger and more competitive.

And finally, there is the seventh plot: Tragedy

When it comes to the seven basic plots, tragedy is often the most discussed and the most difficult to understand. Although the definition of tragedy has been debated since ancient times, it usually involves the death of a protagonist, usually due to a fatal flaw or misjudgment, and has a moral to the story.

This is a particularly relevant concept for many businesses, as all organizations have the potential to experience tragedy. In this sense, tragedy can be seen as a lesson in understanding the consequences of decision-making.

A business example of tragedy would be a company that is forced to close its doors due to poor management decisions. This is an example of an organization that has failed to learn from the past, and has paid the ultimate price. The tragedy lies in the fact that the business has been unable to recognize the need to make decisions that are based on the long-term interests of the organization, rather than short-term gains.

It is a lesson in the importance of assessing the potential risks of every decision and being aware of the consequences of every action. On a more positive note, tragedy can also be seen as an opportunity for growth. The experience of tragedy can serve as a powerful motivator for organizations to learn from their mistakes and take steps to ensure that similar tragedies don’t occur in the future.

Using Christopher Booker’s seven basic plots when structuring your anecdotes will make them much more compelling for your audience since each one highlights different aspects of storytelling including character development, conflict resolution and emotional depth which will draw readers in even further. So if you want to craft engaging stories that your audience will remember long after reading them, try out these seven basic plots!

Using Humour in your Speech

Section: Words 2.2

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Humour can be a powerful tool for public speakers, allowing them to engage their audience and enhance the impact of their message. It can add depth and colour to a presentation, making it more enjoyable and memorable for the audience. In this blog, we define humour, its importance, the types of humour to use in public speaking, and ways to deal with any potential issues.

Definition of humour

Humour is used to “provoke laughter and provide amusement”. It often involves a play on words, irony, exaggeration, or even self-deprecation. Humour helps reduce tension in the room and gives people something to laugh about during your presentation.

Benefits of using humour when public speaking

The benefits of using humour when public speaking are many.

Humour helps create a sense of connection between you and your audience. When you tell a joke or share an anecdote, you create a shared experience that can help build trust with your audience.

Humour can also help break down barriers between speaker and listener by providing some relief from the intensity of the topic being discussed.

Humour can make complex ideas more understandable by adding visual cues or making them easier to relate to.

Using humour when speaking can help create an enjoyable atmosphere that will keep people engaged throughout your talk.   


When preparing a speech that will include humour, preparation is key. Knowing who you’re speaking to will give you an idea of what kind of humour they’ll appreciate and any topics you should avoid. It’s also important to consider the context of the speech and its purpose. This will help you decide whether jokes or a more subtle approach is most appropriate. Brainstorming ideas for jokes or stories also gives you plenty of content to work with so that you don’t have to rely on improvisation during your delivery.


Once you’ve gone through the preparation stage, it’s time to focus on delivery. Speaking with confidence is essential for delivering humorous content effectively; if your delivery lacks conviction, it won’t have nearly as much impact as it could if you exuded confidence and enthusiasm when telling your jokes or stories. Timing your delivery appropriately is key; make sure each joke or story has enough time for its setup without dragging on too long before getting to the punchline. And finally, emphasizing certain words or expressions can add an extra layer of emphasis when telling a joke – this will help clarify points in case some members of your audience didn’t catch everything due to background noise or other distractions.  

Types of Humour to Use in Public Speaking

Self-Deprecating Humour: Self-deprecating humour is when you make jokes about yourself as a way of self-expression and entertaining your audience. It’s a great way to show humility, build rapport with your audience, and make lighthearted fun out of embarrassing situations.

Observational Humour: Observational humour is when you take something from everyday life that people usually overlook and make a joke out of it. This type of comedy often leads to laughter, since people relate to everyday experiences that many can relate to.

Wordplay and Puns: Wordplay refers to playing with words by making puns or jokes based on their meaning or sound. We can use this form of comedy in speeches or presentations as long as it isn’t too offensive or inappropriate for the occasion.

Pop Culture References: Pop culture references are always popular with audiences because they provide familiar topics that people enjoy discussing or joking about. Making references to popular movies, TV shows, songs, books, etc., can help keep your audience engaged in your message while providing accurate information in an entertaining manner.

Audience Participation: Audience participation is also an effective way to keep your audience engaged during a presentation or speech by asking questions, polling the crowd for opinions, or even having them participate in a game or activity related to the topic at hand. This will give everyone an opportunity to get involved and be part of the process, which will increase their interest level in what you have to say!

Dealing with Mishaps

The key to dealing with mishaps is to anticipate potential issues or misunderstandings before you begin speaking. Before getting up on the podium, take some time to think about which jokes might go over well with your audience and which ones may not land as well. You should also consider any cultural differences that may exist between you and your audience–for example, a joke about politics may fly with one crowd but bomb with another.

It’s important to acknowledge any mistakes made while delivering the joke or story. This allows you to move on without dwelling on what went wrong and risking further embarrassment. Instead of letting the moment pass without comment, apologise if necessary and explain why the joke didn’t work out as intended. Doing so shows that you are aware of the situation and willing to own up to it instead of trying to brush it off or ignore it.

After dealing with any mishaps during your speech, try not to dwell on them too much afterwards. It’s easy to become fixated on what went wrong, but this could lead you down a slippery slope where you start second-guessing every word uttered during your presentation. Instead, focus on all the positive aspects of your talk and leave any negative moments behind you as soon as possible so that they don’t cloud your judgment when preparing for future presentations.

In conclusion, humour is a powerful tool for public speakers that can help engage and entertain their audience and enhance their message’s impact. When used strategically, it can make a presentation more enjoyable, memorable, and impactful. However, it is important to understand how humour works, which type of humour to use, and how to handle any potential issues that may arise. With the right knowledge and preparation, humour can be used to significant effect in public speaking.

AI writers – useful tool or a waste of time

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Artificial Intelligence AI Photo by Alex Knight on

It’s no secret that Artificial Intelligence (AI) technologies are becoming increasingly popular and powerful tools to help people with a variety of tasks. But when it comes to writing a speech, using AI may not be as straightforward as it seems. While AI can provide assistance in terms of researching and organizing content, it still requires a significant amount of work and effort to craft a speech that stands out. In this blog, we’ll explore how I used AI technologies to attempt to write a persuasive, engaging speech.

I started by asking my AI app “How do you use AI to write a public speaking script?”

This was the response.

When it comes to public speaking, crafting the perfect script can be a daunting task. From finding the right words to memorizing your lines, it can be difficult to stay organized and present yourself in the best light. Fortunately, artificial intelligence (AI) can help you create an impactful public speaking script with ease.

AI-powered tools can help you craft a speech that resonates with your audience. By understanding your audience’s interests and passions, AI-powered tools can suggest topic ideas and provide you with hints and tips on how to improve your presentation. Additionally, AI can analyze your writing to identify any areas that need improvement, such as structure, grammar, and flow.

When it comes to writing your script, AI can help you edit your work quickly and efficiently. By utilizing natural language processing (NLP) algorithms, AI can detect and correct any spelling and grammar mistakes, as well as suggest better word choices. AI can also help you create a more engaging script by providing you with suggestions on how to capture your audience’s attention with storytelling elements and emotion.

To make sure your script is error-free and professional, AI can also help you with the proofreading process. By using machine learning algorithms, AI can scan your script for any typos, grammar errors, and inconsistencies. Additionally, AI can provide you with real-time feedback on how to improve your script and make it more impactful.

Finally, AI can also help you rehearse your presentation. By using text-to-speech (TTS) technology, AI can read your script out loud, so you can get a better understanding of how your words flow and sound. Additionally, you can use AI-powered virtual reality (VR) systems to practice your public speaking in a simulated environment, so you can get a better feel for the performance and craft a more engaging presentation.

That’s not too bad! It’s a bit repetitive in places, but it’s easy to understand. So, the next thing was to ask the app to “write a speech on the benefits of having an executive coach.” This was the response:

Good morning everyone, Today, I’m here to talk to you about the pros and cons of executive coaching.

Let me begin by telling you a story. A few years ago, I was a young executive working in a large corporate environment. I had a lot of responsibility, but I was feeling overwhelmed and uncertain of my capabilities. I was struggling to stay on top of my tasks, and I was feeling like a failure. That’s when I decided to try executive coaching. I had heard that it could help executives become more successful, so I decided to give it a try.

At first, I was hesitant. I wasn’t sure if I was ready for the commitment and I didn’t know what kind of guidance I could expect.

But I was determined to make a change, so I decided to go ahead with it. The results were amazing.

With the help of my executive coach, I was able to develop a strategy to better manage my workload, delegate tasks and stay on top of my responsibilities.

I was also provided with tools to help me stay focused and motivated. The experience changed my life. I felt more organized and confident in my abilities, and I was able to make a successful transition into leadership roles.

But executive coaching isn’t always the right choice for everyone. There are a few potential drawbacks that you should be aware of before making the decision to take part in executive coaching.

The first is the cost. Executive coaching can be expensive, so you should make sure you’re willing to invest the money and have enough resources to get the most out of the experience.

Another potential downside is the time commitment. Executive coaching requires a significant time commitment from both the coach and the executive, so make sure you’re willing to dedicate the necessary time and energy to get the most out of the experience.

Finally, you should be aware that executive coaching isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution. Every executive has unique needs, so you’ll need to find a coach that’s the right fit for you and has the experience to help you reach your goals.

To sum it up, executive coaching can be a great way to help executives become more successful, but there are some potential drawbacks that you should consider before making the decision to take part in executive coaching. Thank you for your time and attention.

Ok, so a bit vanilla and could do with some more emotive language. But there is a good foundation and concepts that can be used to construct a more captivating narrative.

Next I used the AI to generate a more interesting story. I prompted the app with ” my executive coach helped me deal with a debilitating condition I had kept secret. include a detailed example.” This is the result:

I had kept a debilitating condition a secret from everyone—including my family, friends and colleagues—for a long time. I suffered from crippling anxiety and panic attacks, which made it difficult for me to engage in social situations and everyday activities. I felt ashamed and embarrassed, so I kept my condition hidden from the world. Then, I decided to work with an executive coach. At first, I was hesitant to open up about my condition, but eventually, I mustered the courage to reveal my struggles. My coach was incredibly understanding and compassionate. She provided me with support, guidance, and strategies to help me manage my anxiety. For example, my coach taught me techniques to help reduce my anxiety in the moment. She encouraged me to practice deep breathing and mindfulness, which helped me to stay grounded during stressful situations. Additionally, my coach provided me with long-term strategies to help me build my resilience. She taught me how to identify my triggers and develop effective coping mechanisms. My coach also helped me to create a plan to disclose my condition to my family, friends, and colleagues. She provided me with resources to educate myself and my loved ones about anxiety and panic attacks. She also helped me to craft a script so that I could explain my condition in a way that felt comfortable to me. Thanks to the support and guidance of my executive coach, I was able to take steps to address and manage my condition. I felt empowered to take control of my mental health and take ownership of my condition. I was finally able to be honest with the people around me and accept the help and support they offered.

This story is a bit more interesting but still lacks personality.

My key takeaways from this activity:

  1. If you put in garbage, you’ll get garbage out. If you’re not precise with your commands for the AI, the result will be uninspiring. Give thought to what you exactly want.
  2. Verify each line of the output. The content can be incorrect, redundant, or dull.
  3. AI is a huge timesaver. It can be used to generate ideas, outlines and content and break through writer’s block.
  4. AI can offer valuable prompts on topics you may have not considered.

Overall, Artificial Intelligence is an indispensable tool in any toolbox.

Choosing the right informative and persuasive language.

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Informative and Persuasive Language Photo by Pixabay on

We can make a speech creative, engaging, and effective by choosing the appropriate informative and persuasive structures. This can be the difference between a successful speech and an ineffective one. In this blog, we will explore the various structures available, and how to choose the right one for your public speaking engagements.

An informative speech is a type of speech that provides the audience with information on a particular subject. Its primary goal is to enhance understanding, maintain interest, and be remembered.

Depending on the topic and the audience, Steven and Susan Bebee have identified five distinct types of informative speeches.

  1. Objects. In this instance, we are presenting information on tangible things, such as products, places, and destinations.
  2. Procedures. This type of speech requires the speaker to provide a step-by-step explanation of how something works or how a particular process is completed.
  3. People. Describing famous people or personal acquaintances is another type of informative speech. This type of speech allows the speaker to provide details and anecdotes about a particular person or group. This is especially helpful when the subject matter is related to history or culture.
  4. Ideas. This type of speech requires the speaker to provide an explanation of certain principles, concepts, theories, and issues. This is often used when the subject matter is complex and difficult to understand, as it provides the audience with an in-depth explanation.
  5. Finally, describing an event that either has happened or will happen is another type of informative speech.

When it comes to giving persuasive presentations, the goal is to change or reinforce attitudes, beliefs, values or behaviour. But it’s not always easy to do that, so it’s important to have a structure to your message. That’s why we use Andrew Abela’s SCoRE method for structuring our message.

The SCoRE Method stands for Situation, Complication, Resolution and Example. It provides a framework for any persuasive communication. Here’s how it works:

Situation: First, you need to define and describe the situation. This is the occasion for this presentation: something that everyone in your audience will agree on.

Complication: Once you’ve identified the situation, you must explain the complication. What is the issue that the audience is facing? What is the challenge they must overcome? What is the obstacle that stands in their way? This has to be the audience’s problem, not yours!

Resolution: Your resolution should propose a solution or provide a way to overcome the problem or challenge. How can the audience best move forward?

Example: Finally, you need to provide an example of how your proposed solution will work. What anecdotes, facts, personal experiences, expert testimony, statistics reasoning and logic can you use to prove your solution?

Intertwined in both informative and persuasive public speaking is the use of Aristotle’s logos, pathos, and ethos. Logos is an appeal to logic, focusing on facts and figures. Pathos is an appeal to emotion, allowing the speaker to connect with their audience on a personal level. Lastly, ethos is an appeal to credibility, allowing the speaker to establish their authority on the topic. By mastering these three elements, speakers can maximize their impact and influence on the audience.

Let’s take a closer look at each of these elements so that you can use them effectively when crafting your persuasive public speaking.

Logos: When appealing to logic, it’s important to present facts and figures that are accurate and reliable. It’s also important to provide evidence to support your statements. For instance, if you’re trying to make a case for a particular cause, provide statistics or research studies that back up your points. Once you have your facts and figures in order, you can use them to make a logical and convincing argument.

Pathos: When appealing to emotion, it’s important to connect with your audience on an emotional level. You can do this by sharing stories and experiences that are relevant to the topic. You may also want to use language that evokes emotion from the audience, such as phrases like “we can all relate to this” or “imagine what it would be like.” By connecting with the audience on an emotional level, you can draw them in and make them more likely to listen to what you have to say.

Ethos: When appealing to credibility, it’s important to establish yourself as an expert on the topic. This can be done by providing credentials, such as a degree, experience, or awards related to the topic. You may also want to cite your sources so that your audience knows where you got your information from. By establishing yourself as an expert, you can demonstrate your knowledge and create a sense of trust with the audience.

In conclusion, it is important to note that choosing the right structures for your speech can make a big difference in its effectiveness. By selecting the appropriate informative and persuasive structures, you can create an engaging, creative, and effective speech. With the proper knowledge of the different structures available, you can use them to your advantage and create an impactful speech that will leave a lasting impression on your audience.


Steven A. Beebe, & Beebe, S. J. (2014). Public Speaking: An Audience-Centered Approach, Global Edition (9th ed.). Pearson Education.

Abela, A. V. (2013). Advanced presentations by design : creating communication that drives action (2nd ed.). Pfeiffer.

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