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Jedi Mind Tricks

Lesson 12 from: How to Create and Deliver an Impactful Presentation

Matt Stevenson

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Lesson Info

12. Jedi Mind Tricks

Lesson Info

Jedi Mind Tricks

I wanna give you some interesting pointers on some Jedi mind tricks. These are great for when you get into sticky situations about content that you may not be familiar with, or you want to do some things, like make your audience feel a way about some content, or make a decision, you wanna change their minds. And the first thing we're gonna talk about is this idea of "Good idea, and." In theater, or in improv there's this idea of, "Yes, and," where you always want to take what the person's saying, validate what they're saying, acknowledge it, and then add on what you want to do after it. We're gonna take that idea from improv, and we're gonna apply that to our designs, or our presentations in a very specific way. If you're having a dialogue with your audience and it's from a yellow or red presentation deck, very often, because of the pressure and the nature of the decks that we're creating, we're gonna leave out some things or we're gonna not consider some content that we should've put ...

in the deck, and very often our audience will be quick to remind us. This is not a bad thing, this is great, because it increases interaction with your audience. Don't look at this as a mistake. If there's something that's left out, what you're gonna say is, "Good idea, and," you're gonna follow up on it. Now, the number one way that I like to follow up on ideas like this is, I'm gonna go back to, remember I said one of the things we're gonna wanna bring into the room with us is a sticky pad, this is where that sticky pad comes into play. So, if I'm in a presentation and it's a red and yellow level presentation, let's say it's red, and I left out an entire section of something that I should've talked about, but because of the pressure of building the deck, it was high risk, and that was one of the things that just fell through the cracks. What I'm gonna do is instantly acknowledge what the person is saying, and then I'm gonna smooth this bump over by taking out my sticky pad, write down verbatim the core of what that person's saying, and I'm gonna put it up somewhere on the wall very near my presentation. Now, when it comes to what you're actually doing, it's not, it's productive, but it's not really changing the presentation. But to the mind of your audience, it is incredible. This is a great sort of last resort bump-smoothing technique because they feel validated, they know that you are taking what they have to say into account, even if it means I'm making a mistake and they're pointing it out to me. I'm gonna be like, "You know what, "that's a really, really great idea. "I can't believe I forgot that. "Let's go ahead and put that up there "and we'll talk about it in a little bit." And you're making it physical, which means that, from now on, throughout the rest of the presentation, they're gonna see their sticky note, their idea, or their note about your presentation up on the wall. And then what you can do is, near the end of your presentation, if you want to review any of the notes that have come up, that's a great idea. In addition to doing it as a sticky pad, sometimes I'll do a big pad or a white board. Anything I can bring, if it's available to you in a room. The bigger the better. And I said a point that I wanna clarify. I said write it down verbatim. This is also very important. If someone says something to you, or expresses an idea or a thought, the last thing you wanna do is validate that thought but turn it into your own, because the person's not gonna feel like you actually heard them. So, again, let's say we have a high pressure deck and someone says something to me, something that I need to consider as I'm giving the presentation, I'm gonna write down what they say, and I'm gonna write down exactly what they say, even if it's just a couple, like, a phrase from what they say, but I'm gonna take the most important part and write it down verbatim, because if you're changing their idea as you're writing it, you're making it yours, and we want this to be their idea. This is them expressing themselves to us about something that we could make ourselves better with, so we wanna make sure that it stays theirs. So, this is the concept of "Good idea, and." "This is a great idea, and we're gonna write it down." Or, "That's a great idea, and let's go back to it "and talk about it here." Or, "That's a great idea, and I wanna hear more. "Tell me about what you're thinking." Any of those are great responses for when someone may heckle you or call you out on something in your presentation because it was actually one of those high risk things. That's part of the techniques of the Jedi training is, because we know that high pressure yields some of these situations that we have to deal with in very delicate but important ways. So, get into the habit of "Good idea, and." It'll really help out a lot. The next Jedi mind trick that I wanna talk about is "We thought of that, and." So, this one is a little bit different. This one is if you're a little bit more confident about what you're being critiqued on, or if you have a better dialogue with your office, with your audience, or if there's something that you remember a portion of the way through your talk. This is something that I end up doing a lot, because if I'm creating high pressure presentations, and I'm going through, and I realize maybe I didn't rehearse enough and I didn't think about something that I would have had I said it out loud, like I talked about. It's important to rehearse. We're gonna do this idea of "We thought of that, and." This is a little bit different than "Good idea," because instead of keeping the concept as one of your audience member's, you're going to absorb that concept and make it one of your own. And I'll give you an example of this. Let's say you are talking about, let's do a business plan for a new restaurant that's going up in a neighborhood, and you're giving a presentation. You only had 48 hours to prepare this for a neighborhood homeowners' association to justify why your restaurant should go up in their neighborhood, and someone says, "Did you think about "the amount of foot traffic that "is gonna increase in our neighborhood?" Well, this is a great opportunity for "We thought of that, and," because not only are we going to acknowledge what they say, but we're gonna make that our own and sort of absorb that into ourselves. And even though it may not be part of your outline, it'll give you the opportunity to talk about whatever it is that they brought up. This is great for if you actually have thought of something, or if you thought of something, or you have a portion of your presentation that has to do with that subject but in a peripheral sense. Like, let's say I have some data on the foot traffic, in that example. What I would do is I would say, "We thought of that, "and let me show you some of those numbers," and then I would go to it, and I've turned it into a discussion. I would turn it back to the audience. I probably might say, "What do you think about this," or whatever, but what you're doing is you're smoothing over a bump of just not, unfortunately it happens where you just didn't prepare a piece of content, or you didn't take your audience's mindset into account when you're making your presentation. So, "Good idea, and" keeps that idea as your audience member's. It's theirs, they own it, you've made it physical. "We've thought of that, and" takes it and makes it yours, and lets you refocus and pivot to where you need to go in your presentation, regardless of whether you've actually accounted for it in your slides or not. And there's one more Jedi mind trick that I wanna talk about, and that's the idea of "Let's come back to that." So, sometimes a piece of feedback, or a dialogue with your audience, or even something that you do yourself causes you to mess up, or skip a piece of content, or say something wrong, and that's where we have the idea of "Let's come back to that." I mentioned that when we were talking about the production of slides because it's something that you may wanna try to build in. There's a way to do that. But when we do "Let's come back to that," that's neither of these other two things. It's something entirely separate. And what you're doing is you're saying, "That's important," and you can even write it down, but you're gonna answer by saying, "We're gonna come back to that a little bit later." Now, there are scenarios where you actually don't come back to that, in which case you wanna be very careful about the attitude of your audience and make sure that you're respecting them, but you know, as a presenter, you're probably not, you know, you're early in your talk and you're probably not gonna come back to that. That is a very rare case. You always wanna try to do what you say you're going to do in a presentation and be as honest as possible. So, if you say "Let's come back to that," write it down and come back to it. So, those are some Jedi mind tricks. Over all, when you're presenting decks that you may not be familiar with, or that you didn't have a lot of time creating, you wanna be extremely careful with any of these phrases, and make sure you pick the right one for the right scenario. They're all very powerful, and they do some interesting things with your audience, and at the end of the day, you don't wanna trick your audience, you don't wanna persuade them using deceptive techniques, but you wanna guide them to other things that you wanna talk about inside of your deck.

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Ratings and Reviews

Jude Temianka

Great course with lots of handy tips. I often find myself having to prepare and give presentations at short notice, and a lot of the preparatory advice that Matt gives falls by the wayside as I frantically jump straight into production mode. I often have the feeling to overwhelm my audience with too much information because I don't take the time to step back and determine what content matters most. Super tangible advice that I will be implementing!

Tomas Verver

As a presentator designer I think Matt has an interesting approach on how to create and deliver impactful presentations. Presentations are important part of you career. Presentations can change the company's future, your own future and the world. Making them impactful is very important. At the moment we have still many presentations but many can improve big time. And we have more presentations online (at) the moment.


Found this course concise and informative. Would recommend to all who have to do presentations.

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