KISS in English

Keep It Short and Simple

What Makes A Good Presentation or Ted Talk? — October 5, 2019

What Makes A Good Presentation or Ted Talk?

Start with a single focused idea, get the audience to feel it, to care. Have them understand it by talking in terms of their own references or schema. Lastly, gift the audience- give them something they didn’t know coming in. And, If they want to share it with others and spread your word you’ve really scored.

Listen to Chris Anderson talk about what makes great Ted talks

Go…. What To Do When You Feel Left Behind — July 13, 2019
A no fail guide to convincing: MONROE’S MOTIVATED SEQUENCE — January 17, 2016

A no fail guide to convincing: MONROE’S MOTIVATED SEQUENCE

A fantastic guideline for convincing others can be found in Monroe’s Motivated Sequence. Designed in the 1930’s by Alan Monroe,  a professor of public speaking at Perdue, it weaves all the key ingredients of effective  communication and  sprinkles it with  just the right psychology.  In short:

  • It adapts to the audience
  • grabs their attention and brings them into the need  by directly involving them
  • then provides instant gratification by providing a solution.
  • Most importantly it uses visualization, a key technique in communication. When you can see something, it becomes real to you and much more likely to happen.

As such, Monroe’s motivated sequence is structured to convince an audience to go out and take action; do something. Not surprisingly it’s the basis of advertising strategy as well.

There are five basic steps:

To start with, step one you need to

GET ATTENTION- grab the audience, get them to give you their undivided attention and focus on what you’re saying. How?

I refer to the 4 key “hooks” used to catch the audience:

  • something that is unexpected or a surprise,
  • a problem with an imediate solution
  • a story to make them care,  or
  • an intriguing question

Once you’ve got their attention you want to, step 2. CREATE THE NEED. Show them why

It’s essential that they feel the need ( to do what you’re asking them to do). So while you want to be concrete and give statistics or logical, we know  that the more you can touch your listener, make them care and feel involved, the more likely you are to convince. For this reason in addition to using logic try to tie the need in with a “feeling “ reason as well.

Connecting with values is one such way as well as giving concrete examples, pertinent to the audience.

Now comes the turning point: you’ve gotten your audience involved and committed to the problem and you’re going to satisfy them by  step 3. Solving THE PROBLEM/SATISFY ing the need. Outline the solution succinctly so they get the point. Show, specifically how this solution addresses the needs you just painted. Try to foresee any objections and address them in your plan.

Follow up on that and really hit the nail on the head with step 4, getting them to VISUALIZE THE SOLUTION. Once you visualize something it begins to feel real, concrete. Get them to see how the outcome would be; what would it look like; feel like, sound like. How would it change things to their liking? Sometimes if this is not so easy, you could use the opposite. Visualize the risk of not doing it. Create the threatening arena of inaction. However, be careful,  you are far more effective with a positive outcome than a negative threat. People tend to block out negativity and find excuses for why it won’t occur.

How to have the others visualize?  You can use stories but be sure to include concrete details, metaphors, proverbs- flashes of wisdom in a simple sentence these are just some of the devices.

And finally, step 5, make a CALL FOR ACTION. Tell them what to do. If you can make it easy, have all of the next steps laid out for them so they can take action with little trouble?


Click on Monroe’s Motivated Sequence to see other sites 





MAKE IT STICK — November 3, 2015


How do you get something to stick: to make a strong impression that stays with you over time; grows on you; keeps you thinking about it?

In a fantastic book that “says it all”, Made to Stick, Chip and Dan Heath use an acronym to give the key criteria.

S- simplicity – your words are “prioritized” – only the key or trigger words are given

U- unexpected- it violates your expectations- creates an expression of surprise which puts the audience in an open, almost vulnerable position to receive your information

C-concrete- I need to be able to experience it with at least one of my senses:  see it/feel it/ smell it/ hear it/taste it

C-credible- I believe it– I buy into the idea either for internal ( you’ve allowed me to experience it first hand) reasons, or external references.

E- emotional– make me care about what you’re saying

S- stories– the narration that brings it all together in a meaningful way

Watch this you tube of Dan Heath who explains how to make a presentation stick

MAKE IT CLEAR — October 29, 2015


Get Your Key Message Across to the Audience Clearly, Effectively and Memorably

Make sure you, yourself know what your key idea is.  Now take this idea and check yourself,  by asking yourself if it means something for the audience.  “Don’t sell the steak, sell the sizzle”:  is your key message in the form of a benefit for the audience.  Is there a WIIFY ( what’s in it for you)?

If so, be sure to begin with your key message, at the very start.  It should be in your introduction just after your greeting ,introduction and  hook.  The message should be clearly stated as…. Today I’m here to….*.

Be careful not to “bury the lead”.  This happens when you use a cartesian methodology and wait until the conclusion to expose your key idea.  Business is not about academic gymnastics but rather about “the bottom line”.   Therefore you begin with the bottom line to grab the audience’s attention in a way that will be intriguing and beneficial for them.


Click on don’t bury the lead to hear Chip Heath co-author of Made to Stick talk about not burying the lead.

*contact me for a list of introductions Continue reading



A Chinese proverb states:

Tell me, I’ll forget
Show me, I’ll remember
Involve me, I’ll understand

…and we can add “let me experience it and i will always remember”

How can we get an audience to experience?  By sharing our stories and having them share the experience that it entails.  By a story I mean a strong narration with real characters; real places; real events that I can visualize as you recount.  It can be a personal story, a professional story, a news story. a “vision”.  You need to provide explicit and descriptive details.  However it should not be long.  Only give key essential pieces.

Typically a story has 3 components:

  1. A real context which brings us into the scenario
  2. A conflict; challenge; problem to confront
  3. A solution/resolution by which there’s been a change that we feel has somehow transformed us as well

By going through the events, the struggle and the outcome together the audience can feel (pathos) a connection rather than think it (logos).

The added advantage of a story is that the audience is open and in a receiving mode.  This is in strong contrast to a logical argument where the audience is thinking and evaluating the logic.

The type of story you choose will always depend on your audience and your reason for giving the presentation.  Some audiences and subjects may require a “facts and figures” story while others may thrive on a more emotional story line.

And, of course the delivery will become of high importance.  Click on NPR to see Michele Obama at her peak and learn about the NPR approach.

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To be continued….

HOW TO DEVELOP YOUR MESSAGE- Logos and Pathos — October 13, 2015


Combining the audience’s needs  (who) and your objective (why) for giving the presentation will provide you with a general idea of what your key message should be. Now you need to be able to say it in a way that it means something:  to you and to the audience.  You need a full, explicit idea which includes a reason why the audience should listen (WIIFY)

  • Your key idea should be expressed explicitly and with interest for the audience.  For example my key idea is “How to communicate explicitly in order to create more stimulating content”.  This explicitly expresses my intention.  Many presenters would however just say how. “how to be more dynamic”, or, “communicate explicitly.”
  • A good message should be a complete idea with a “reason why” for the audience to listen.

Once you provide your key message you need to develop it.

  • Using a combination of supporting ideas which are pathos/ feeling and logos/logical support is often the way to go.
  • It is currently thought that decisions are made based on feeling and logic is used to justify the decision. Therefore both elements should be used.

Logos  – Features/Data/ Logical arguments/Proofs/Schematic charts

Pathos – Stories which illustrate qualities and benefits/Metaphors and Analogies which bring meaningful dimensions to the facts/Thought provoking questions

You want your audience to care about the content (pathos) and feel justified in doing so (logos)

TARGET YOUR MESSAGE — October 4, 2015


What you say should come from asking 1. who and 2. why you’re talking to this audience.  The cross section of this answer should provide you with your 3. message

1. Who are you talking to?

  • Picture a real person–Age; demos; cultural aspects…
  • Why are they listening to you?
  • What do they need to hear;  what can they learn
  • What format works best

3. What to you need to say…………
— this is “THE





2. Why are you talking AND how are you talking to them, i.e.,

  • –  to sell/promote yourself
  • –  friendly, team oriented
  • –  formal; authoriatibe
What does it take to be a strong speaker? — October 1, 2015

What does it take to be a strong speaker?

Public speaking is one of people’s biggest fears. It ranks along with the fear of death. Moreover, if it’s not in your native language, it’s a real challenge. Over the next few posts I will provide you with some tips to make it easier.

Step 1.

First, and most important, is to be comfortable as a speaker in English. So what does that take?  I believe that it starts with: 1- Knowing WHAT to say.


KISS your audience—Keep It Short and Simple

You need to be able to say your key message in one simple sentence.

Your talk should have one key message. Thereafter you will use several ideas to support this key message.

Do you know what your message is?

It is the one key idea that you want the listener(s) to take away with them. If everything you say comes back to the same key message the listener has a clear, key idea to take away. Now, if you create a series of convincing ideas, which support this idea, you’ve created a memorable argument.

The trick to developing a strong, memorable argument is to find 3 supporting ideas and link them together to tell a story.   This will provide you with the shell just below.

Start To Create Your Narration



Three points that develop this are:









How do each of these points link?— are they adding to the same point; contrasting; emphasizing? Write your answer in a and b.  You now have your story!

Next week we’ll see how to identify the key statements; stay tuned ….