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Hitting the Head & Heart for a Knockout Presentation 
By Paul Evans

Presenters want to be known for their stuff, not for their fluff. Stuff means we're sharing practical information that will make listeners say, "Whew! I'm glad I didn't miss this." It means we pack a punch with our presentations that allows the audience to walk away with the tools and resources needed for positive change. 

Motivational speakers get a bad rap because people consider them emotional peddlers. They get the audience pumped up, but fail to give any real content so the emotion can be channeled for application. On the other hand, technical speakers get accused of sharing information that fails to lead to transformation. 

Why not apply the best from both styles? 

Boxers use a knockout combination to send their opponent to the ground. We'll use a knockout combination to send the crowd home spellbound. Here are the two key content punches to make it happen. 

A Left Hook to the Head. 

Researchers say the left side of the brain is the center of logic. It likes facts. It likes proof. So you want to hook the left with points that make people think. 

Begin by thinking about the audience. Business audiences want to think about productivity and profit. Community service audiences want to receive mental challenges about their impact in the world for good. What does your audience want to think about? 

What do you want the people to think? How you want to affect your audience's head? What do you want to happen to them intellectually? How do you want to challenge them mentally? Do you want to create awareness? Do you want to inform? Do you want to generate doubt? 
Force the audience to think. Challenge deeply revered beliefs so the group is driven to produce a decision. Present new formulas backed by data so the audience can't refuse it without mental scrutiny. However you choose to do it, just knock the group up side the head with powerful content they can't forget. 

A Right Jab to the Heart. 

What do you want the audience to feel? 

You want to impact their hearts. Do you want them to feel sad about the number of drunken driving accidents, or perhaps infuriated? Do you want the audience to feel joy, or electric after your talk? Maybe you want them to feel challenged, or uplifted, or light, or heavy? 
The content presented must consist of emotion. The head creates agreement, while the heart produces action. 

We've all fallen victim to our feelings. Our heart makes us do dumb things like buying a car we can't afford, flirting with someone out of our league, or trying to entertain the office when we're not funny. But it can also make us do some very smart things like signing up to serve in a soup kitchen, increasing our commitment at work, and taking the lead in a new venture. 

Examine your audience. What emotion will best move them to action? Tap into that feeling and you'll activate a force powerful enough to make a legitimate difference. 

A Knockout. 

No one is all left or all right, that's why we use a combination. If you just use left hooks, you'll alienate all the people who want to feel the message. Using only right jabs leaves the left outside the ring because they want apply the instruction. 

When speaking and presenting to technical audiences lean toward the left, but don't ignore the emotion it's still important. Touch their hearts. It will provide just enough oomph to motivate the techies to do something with their new information. 

When the audience is primarily an easily motivated crowd don't forget the solid content. Pack a mental punch. The people may be effortless to energize, but they need a way to exercise that passion. Provide step-by-step instructions, so they can walk out with a logical plan to complete. 

Before your next presentation plan your knockout combination by answering these two questions on a blank sheet of paper. What do I want the audience to think? What do I want them to feel? Answer those two correctly and you'll be a champion every time. 

Paul Evans is the creator of The Public Speaking Success System. He helps individuals and companies create value with their words. He can be reached at Visit for public and professional speaking articles and training.

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