Say This 10 Times: "I Am Not A Wikipedia Page!"
“Our company was founded in 1922.”
Whenever I hear a speaker say something like that, I think, Who cares? That piece of information, presented without context, could lead the audience to have one of two reactions:
1. “Wow, they’ve been doing this a long time. They must know what they’re doing.”
2. “Wow, they’re old. I wonder if they’re a traditional company that’s too slow to embrace change.”
I often tell speakers to stop being their company’s Wikipedia page by merely listing factual information. Their job during a presentation isn’t to list facts, but to create a useful context into which those facts fit.
In the above example, the speaker should have said something closer to this:
“Our company was founded in 1922. Our industry has gone through three major transformations from then to now—and the only reason we’ve been able to continue our growth is because we have the experience to identify and embrace tomorrow’s trends before everyone else.”
Here’s another example. Don’t simply state that you have 18 offices around the world. Instead, infuse that fact with meaning, and say:
“We’re a global events planning company. We can help you plan top-notch events in New York and Los Angeles, but also in Mexico City, Berlin, Mumbai, Johannesburg, and 12 other major international cities. And if you want to plan an event in a city outside of those 18 locations, our closest regional office can successfully plan it for you from there, as we did in 145 cities last year alone.”
As you practice for your next presentation, pay close attention to the moments when you’re verging on becoming a context-free, facts-only presenter. Then, repeat this mantra: “I am not a Wikipedia page!” and add meaning to those facts.
Want more free public speaking tips? Check out our 25 Most Essential Public Speaking Tips.