How to Write, Structure & Prepare a More Effective Presentation in Half the Time

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“How to Write, Structure & Prepare a More Effective Presentation in Half the Time”

Do you want your presentations to be more focused and more successful?

Would you like to write better presentations in less time?

If you need to deliver presentations often and want to learn how to do it faster and more effectively then discover these shortcuts.

There are only three parts to any presentation: Structure, Content and Delivery. This program will focus on where you should start – selecting and building the right structure. Once you know this simple planning process you will create better presentations in less time.

In this program you will discover

  • The 5 step method to outline your presentation in five minutes
  • The 3 types of presentations and what to emphasize for each
  • How to build a complete presentation with the balanced meal plan model
  • The simplest way to write and remember your presentation
  • 5 effective presentation structures from which you can choose
  • The common and damaging presentation format you must avoid
  • 4 questions you need to ask to jumpstart the writing of your presentation
  • How to quickly adapt your presentation to differing time frames
  • And much more…

Learn how to build a better presentation.

Click here to listen to this audio class

George Torok

Executive Speech Coach, Business presentation tips from George Torok, the Speech Coach for Executives.


Like, you know, awesome, not - video

Are you speaking with authority?

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Spice Up Your Presentation with Quotations

Add one or a few quotations to your presentation to make it more entertaining and insightful. Your quotation might spur your listeners to think or laugh. Sprinkle lightly like pepper. Use a quotation that emphasizes or clarifies your message.

Here are three sources you can search for quotations:

Quote a Famous Person

This is the most common method. Be sure to quote from a person who is well known and well liked by your audience. That ensures that the quotation lends more weight to your message.

Name the person who said it. Don’t pretend to be the source of that phrase and don’t make your audience guess. An appropriate quotation helps you tap into the credibility of the person who first spoke that piece of wisdom. Select the right quotation from Albert Einstein and it sounds as if he agrees with you.

Avoid repeating the overused quotes. It looks bad when speakers are using the same quotations. If most people have heard the quotation several times you appear unoriginal in your thinking.

Instead, search for a quotation that is not so well known.

“I went to the gym on the days that I felt like it and I went to the gym on the days that I didn’t feel like it.” Muhammad Ali

Quote a Client, Colleague or Industry Expert

Another source of valuable quotations could be your clients – especially if you are talking to your staff or company colleagues. You could use praise or complaints.

The company or association founder could be a source of colorful insights. But don’t just look to the leader for words of wisdom. With a little research you might uncover hidden gems from the janitor or the guy on the loading dock.

“We hurry to ship it out and it comes back on the next truck. Why not get it right the first time?” Truck Driver

The Twist

A third variation is to take a common phrase or quotation and twist it. This technique can add an engaging element of surprise and humor to what might have been a dull presentation

“He who laughs – lasts.”

Children will offer you useful twists as they rephrase the words they hear and describe the world as they see it.

"And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us some email." 4 year old girl

How to Deliver the Quotation with Drama

Pause just before you deliver the line and just after. While you are stating the quotation, shift your stance so you look slightly different and alter your voice a bit. Then resume your previous stance and voice to demonstrate that you are back to your own words. You don’t need to deliver a perfect impersonation of the person. Just make the little shifts. Those tiny changes will help the audience perceive you as the character you are quoting. It adds drama to your presentation and makes your message more memorable.

What if you can’t remember who said it or you’re not sure if you’ve got the words right? Then preface the line with, “As my grandmother used to say…” No one will get annoyed with your grandmother for altering the line.

The right quotation and appropriate source can inject spice into your presentation. It will help make your message more engaging, insightful and memorable.

“All we have to fear - is being boring.”

© George Torok helps business professionals deliver million dollar presentations. Find more free tips at Learn about upcoming seminars and audio classes at To arrange for personal presentation coaching call 905-335-1997

Spice Up Your Presentation with Quotations

Quotations and Insights from George Torok

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Executive Speech Coach, Business presentation tips from George Torok, the Speech Coach for Executives.

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Yadda, yadda, yadda and more annoying phrases

What annoying phrases from popular culture are speakers over-using in their presentations?
For example: I heard one speaker say "yadda, yadda, yadda" three times within 30 - minutes.

I asked that question in a Linkedin Group and was overwhelmed with the responses. Here are a few annoying phrases and terms.

Sandra Vogel, PhD • I am tired of hearing speakers say " Let me un pack this for you". This causes a mental shut down... .

Martijn Sjoorda • Ah... you pressed a button here! So, well, you know, it's like it's sorta, kinda, basically a bit like this. Note that the last sentence conveys no definite statement of fact or emotion whatsoever. If you listen actively, you'll hear that a lot of people simply fail to produce coherent, crisp sentences, even when they are "trained" public speakers. In my own language it would be the endemic use of "zeg maar" which has infested everyday speech. It's our equivalent of "like" or "sorta". Even seasoned public speakers (the prime minister comes to mind) use it.

James Hamilton • This is GREAT! I reference these over-used phrases in my keynote/seminars. A personal pet peeve of mine is: "SO, How many of you have ever....?' as an opener. It's okay to open with a question, but unless the energy in the room is already peaked, the audience usually does not want to raise their hands at the beginning of a presentation. Feel free to add the contrite: Synergize, monetize, bring to the table, reinvent the wheel, carve out a niche, core competencies, low hanging fruit, deliverables, action items, and...GAZILLIONS more. There is actually a "buzzword" game to play during executive meeitngs that lists many of these. It's FUN!

Mandi Stanley • Just yesterday, I heard a speaker say, "Well, at the end of the day..." three times within a 20 minute talk. It's quickly moving to the top of the overused cliches list.

Sue Birkam • Moving forward, going forward..what other direction would we go in? It is definitely overused not just in speeches but in everyday conversation.

Scott Barclay • I use 'bottom line' probably ten times within an hour, I am seeking help :) • I agree with Mandy, "at the end of the day", at my end of the day I go to sleep, which is what happens when i hear those words ... Favourite MBA jargon, "add value".

Steven Weisman • For me, Yachting terms are the most annoying to me--"Headwinds and Tailwinds" They are elitest and mean nothing in the final analysis.

Kenny Zail • The fact of the matter is

John Loven • I have been pointing out to communications seminars that the word "toxic" has been drained of all specific meaning in just a few months. It now indicates any level of disapproval or undesirability for any (or no) reason. It is instructive to see the "draining" process happen so fast. It's a paradigm shift with a lot of impact for the stakeholders. I think. John

Maggi Smith-Dalton • Gritting my teeth as I say them: Going forward Back in the day On the same page skill sets like, you know, um (used almost every other word in the sentence!)

Mike Smithgall • I’m not as bothered by the new buzzwords/phrases because they come and go. What drives my crazy is "irregardless". I am also guilty of using the following "they may or may not...." well that doesn’t really narrow it down does it. It’s like saying it "may or may not rain..." although 100% correct it has not moved us any closer to valuable information.

I also not a big fan of anything that comes after a phrase such as "my granddaddy used to say..." It’s always some hokey, folk wisdom designed to cut through the clutter of today’s sophisticated jargon and get back to the basics. However, I guess if you are Zig Ziglar and your persona is based on being folksy it works.

OK, for the record I have used every one of these except irregardless. Maybe there is a speaker’s anonymous program I can join

Jodie Beach • I am laughing out loud! Everyone is right on with your replies . . . and I must confess, I am guilty of a few of these. Time to check myself and make improvements.

Mike Smithgall • Ooh I just remembered.. "At this point in time" that’s and oldie but a goody. Doesn’t that mean now? Its an attempt to make the mundane more elegant.

"At this point in time I’d like to suggest we all adjourn to Burger King" My other favorite is relatively new and I have seen it used by cable news anchors so of course it has to be correct... "efforting"

"We are efforting to get that video feed to you soon"....what? you mean working on or attempting or trying right.. is that even a word?

You know my granddaddy used to say "fixin to"...

Robb Braun • Just joined your group and am glad to be a part of. Comments have been great. I struggle when I hear things like "If you do what you've always done, you'll get what you've always gotten" or " Insanity is..." get the point. I know they are wonderful quotes and have meaning, but to me they have lost their meaning because they've become so overused and cliche. I hope I'm not using any that others have grown tired of hearing.

What annoys you about the phrases and terms that speakers use?

Do you agree or disagree with the above?

Watch for more feedback from this survey.

George Torok

Presentation Skills Training

The Speech Coach For Executives

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Too much information - not enough time

How to deliver your management report clearly by saying less

You have been asked to present a report to management. You have two hours worth of information but only 20 minutes to speak. What a dilemma! How do you get your message across? How will you decide what to leave out? And will management punish you for leaving something out?

5 to 10 Times Rule
What should you do? If you only have two hours of information then you should only speak for about 12 to 24 minutes. Why? Because if you have two hours of material - then most of it will be irrelevant or boring or both. Follow this rule - you should always have at least 5 to 10 times more information than you present.

If you worked on the project and researched the information, you might easily fall into the trap that everything is important and interesting. After all, you sweated over all the details. And more important to you - you want management to see you as doing a thorough job. You don't want to leave something out because that might make you look as if you don't know everything - or that you didn't do your homework.

Show Your Stuff Without Telling All
How do you appear to know all your 'stuff' without telling all your 'stuff'? How do you make the right impression on management? You might feel that the only way to appear open and honest is to tell everything you know. The reality is that if you tell everything you know - you are wasting their time and you are demonstrating that you can't judge what is important and what isn't. The message that you will convey is that you can't be trusted to think.

Like it or not you must leave some information out. You must decide on what is most relevant to management for this presentation. Learn to do that effectively and you will have more success with your management reports. You will get more support from management and you will be better perceived as management material.

Let's look at the "5 to 10 times" rule. If you know 5 to 10 times what you actually deliver - you will feel more confident while presenting because you will clearly know your stuff. You will give the group your best stuff. And when you get questions - especially the obscure ones - you will handle them skillfully and confidently. Management will see that there is real substance behind the presentation. That will make them feel more confident about your report and you. It does not matter how much information you present - if they don't believe you or feel confident about you. Senior management must believe in you. That is your real bottom line.

So how do you cut? First, decide on your most important message. What is it that you want your listeners to feel, say or do after your presentation? For example, are you asking management for approval, budget, or other resources? Do you want them to feel confident that you are handling things well - and they can leave you alone? Or are you warning them about a problem that they might need to act upon? Be clear about your key message?

Focus On Key Message
Before you start to prepare your presentation - write your key message on a piece of paper and keep that in front of you while preparing your presentation. If you can't do this, then you really don't understand the purpose of your presentation. And people who do things without understanding their true purpose are doomed to fail. Check every exhibit, phrase, and fact against that purpose. If something doesn't help you get your key message across, delete it.

If you sculpt your presentation well enough you might deliver that 20-minute presentation in 17 minutes. And guess what? No one will be unhappy that you did it in less time. In fact, take note of the approving nods and smiles around the room when you finish early.

Several Versions
Take this method one step further. Because you will deliver similar messages over your career, develop different time versions of each message. Be ready to deliver your key messages in a 20-minute, 5-minute and 90-second format. When you can do that you will deliver the right presentation at the right time and be more successful in getting what you want.

What can you do if you really want management to have all the information? Give them the detailed report. But keep your presentation short. The best thing you can do for your business presentations is to make them shorter. Management will reward you.

SC© George Torok is the Speech Coach for Executives. Register for your free presentation skills tips at Arrange for presentation skills training for your sales team by calling 905-335-1997 Find more free presentation skills tips at Receive regular presentation tips at

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Sales & Marketing Executives versus 12-year-olds

Who delivered a better presentation and why?

Recently I listened to a group of senior sales and marketing executives speak at a networking meeting. I also served as a judge at a speech contest for 12-year-olds. These two unrelated events prompted me to compare the presentation skills of each group.

1. Guess who was more engaging, attention grabbing and memorable?

2. Guess who was boring, uninspiring and easily forgettable?

The answer to question one is – the 12-year-olds. They were good.

The answer to question two is – the sales & marketing executives. They needed improvement.

Why did 12-year-olds deliver better presentations than senior sales and marketing executives?

The 12-year olds were competing in a speech contest. Many of their parents were there. Money and prestige were on the line, so they were well rehearsed.

Each presenter had a focused message. Their presentation was designed to deliver that message. Some were deep and serious while others were light and whimsical. In all cases the message was clear and easy to summarize.

The presenters spoke to the interests of the audience. The topics ranged from “the influence of the media”, “tourism in third world countries”, “the family van”, “peculiarities of the English language”, and “homework”. Yet each speaker related the topic to the listener.

Each speaker told colorful stories. That sparked images in my mind. Many said things that were funny and made me laugh. Some statements challenged my opinion. I was impressed by the carefully selected words and phrasing. All were simple and understandable.

Each speaker conveyed passion for their message. Each radiated that they were happy to be speaking to us.

These speakers were bold. They stood before the audience, looked people in the eye, delivered their statements and performed.

What did the Sales & Marketing Executives (SME) do poorly?

Winging it
The SME seemed to be winging it – even though they were competing for attention, memorability and jobs. These SME were between jobs but seemed reluctant to compete and rehearse. Yet, clearly a lot of money was on the line. If their family had attended, would they have prepared better?

There was no focus or purpose evident. It almost seemed that they first were reciting their resume and then what they had for breakfast. Okay, I’m exaggerating the breakfast part – but it seemed as boring as porridge.

Each speaker seemed to be caught in their own self-centered world. Most didn’t relate to me or how they might fix my pain or that of my contacts. How could I help them if I didn’t know what they were offering? Stating “who you worked for” tells me little. They needed to speak of pain and solutions.

Facts, history and blah, blah, blah. Some related recent experiences but none that were worth remembering. Many used filler, self-sabotaging and jargon words. I was bored, confused and unimpressed.

I didn’t feel it. The emotion that I felt was remorse. “Why am I here?”

You might think that Sales & Marketing Executives would be anything but humble. You might think that Sales & Marketing Executives would grasp the difference between benefits and features. I thought so too.

All of the SME sat while speaking, crunched in their chairs some with an arm draped over the back of the chair. It was as if this was a family picnic instead of a possible career defining meeting. I found it curious that none of the men wore a tie. Did they want to be taken seriously? Or was this just a social club?

Presentation Skills Contest Results
What’s the score? 12-year olds -1. Sales & Marketing Executives - 0.

Some of you might think that I’m too hard on the Sales & Marketing Executives. That I’m expecting too much from them. Maybe – but I bet that I’m not the only one.

© George Torok is the Speech Coach for Executives. He coaches business leaders to deliver deal-closing presentations. Find more free presentation tips at Find more tips and ideas for your presentations at To arrange for training for your team call 905-335-1997

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