3 Rules of Effective Presentations - Part 3

Rule 3: Effective Presentations Feature Easy-To-Grasp References

This article is the third in a three-part series.

If I said, “The Wheel of Fortune,” you’d know what I meant, right?   Photo: Mare Swallow

If I said, “The Wheel of Fortune,” you’d know what I meant, right?

Photo: Mare Swallow

So you’ve been following my advice, using current references in your presentations. Yay!

Now to follow up: Not all current references will be understood by your audience. Anything you reference without explanation must be that ubiquitous that it needs no explanation: Taylor Swift, Stephen Hawking, iPhone, iPad, baseball, former President Barack Obama, The Constitution, streaming, texting, Prince, Colin Kaepernick, Colin Powell — you see where I’m going with this.

It’s okay to reference people and things that aren’t general knowledge. But when you do, clarify who or what your reference is. I often point my clients to the work of author and speaker Lois Frankel. If you’ve never read her work or haven’t heard her speak, you probably don’t know who she is. Ergo, I would reference her like this:

“Nice Girls don’t get the corner office.” - Dr. Lois Frankel, Author and Speaker

Readers now have a sense of whom I am quoting.

I once attended a training where I received a notebook peppered with supposedly helpful/inspirational quotes. I didn’t recognize the names attributed to the quotes, so I googled all the names. One was an unknown 18th Century philosopher. (Huh?) The other was a made-up person whose only accomplishment was having a dubious entry on wikipedia. The credibility of the training and the author went out the window.