When planning a presentation or talk start with the key elements you want the audience to take away

Is The Stream Of Your Presentation Stocked With Fish For Your Audience?

“Memory is a net: one finds it full of fish when he takes it from the brook, but a dozen miles of water have run through it without sticking.”
Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr.

Is The Stream Of Your Presentation Stocked With Fish For Your AudienceA couple of checklist items:

  1. Who were you hoping to attract? Review your talk description or meeting agenda to make sure it’s aligned with your planned presentation
  2. Who is actually in the audience? Use show of hands questions to calibrate who is in the audience. If there are fewer than two dozen folks go around the room and have each person volunteer an introduction and what they hope to get out of the talk.
  3. Take questions as you go: use these as feedback for the depth and level of interest in what you should cover. Keep a “parking lot” list on a flip chart, white board (or text file in a webinar) so that you can defer questions to the end–or for follow up after.
  4. Never give a good talk once: hand out feedback cards in the room and collect them so that you can improve for next time.
  5. Consider an article or richer and more structure handout than a deck: a deck is useful as a memory jog for those who heard the talk, but is less useful when it gets forwarded to others who lack the context. An article may be a better leave behind.


  1. Have you stocked the stream of words in your presentation with at least a few of the fish that your audience is looking for?
  2. What do you hope your audience will remember?

“Always be shorter than anyone dared hope.”
Lord Reading

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Photo Credit: Dennis Hill Fish