Knowledge > Practice > Talent

Your success in life will be determined by your ability to speak, your ability to write, and the quality of your ideas. In that order.

How to start

In the beginning of a talk, people are still settling in and getting used to your voice.

Start with a promise: What will the audience learn that they didn’t know? Why will they stay and listen to your talk.

Four sample heuristics

  • Repeat your points and cycle back to the main topic.
  • Build a fence around your idea so that it can be distinguished from what others have said and done. Explain how it differs.
  • Verbal punctuation
  • Questions (but balance difficulty)

The tools

Time & place

Time: When is the audience alert? Not straight after a meal, not too early. Place: Is the lighting adequate? Prefer lighter rooms to dark ones, inspect beforehand, it should have the right size for your audience (more than 50% filled).

Props, boards, slides

One advantage of writing by hand on a board is that it can be used graphically, the speed is appropriate to the way you talk, and it can be used as a target of focus.

You can use props to illustrate a point, like the pendulum that swings across the room and then stops right before the teacher’s face.

Both writing on a board and using props are more tactical and tangible than using slides, because the audience will feel what you are doing.

Rules for slides

There are always too many slides and too many words

  • Do not read from them
  • Be in the image
  • Keep images simple
  • Eliminate clutter

Your audience can either read from the slide, or listen to the speaker. When there is a lot of information on the slides, that is prioritized over what the speaker says.

Tools to promote learning

  • Symbol
  • Slogan
  • Surprise
  • Salient idea (something that sticks out)
  • Story

Use cases


  • Provide a promise (about learning something)
  • Exhibit passion about what you are doing!
  • Storytelling
    • Which stories they need to know
    • Questions to ask
    • Ways of analyzing stories


Within the first five minutes, establish these three.

  • Situate the problem: who cares about this, why is an answer to this question important
  • Show that you have a vision
    • People care about the problem
    • You have a new approach
  • Show that you have done something
    • Illustrate the steps that need to be taken to solve the problem

End by illustrating your contributions to the problem.

How to stop

Final slide

Name it Contributions and list your accomplishments.

Final words

I always finish with a joke, because then people think they have had fun the whole time!

You don’t have to say “thank you”, you can also salute the audience by acknowledging them being here.