Orsolya Nemes is a Presentation Expert, Designer & Coach, TEDx speaker, and the author of "Generational Myths." She works with a range of international clients - from experts and C-Level executives to Harvard Professors to help them create, develop, and deliver successful presentations. Based in Budapest, Hungary, she is also a frequent speaker at international stages and conferences and conducts workshops and trainings in Hungary and abroad. Her approach blends TED-style, storytelling, science, research, design, and the realities of business life.

In this episode, we talk about storytelling, presentation structure, audience analysis, finding your message, and Orsolya shares her process step by step – brainstorming and then structuring the presentation.

How did she get into the world of presentations

Orsolya recalls working at a business specializing in organizational development ten years ago. There they performed to her the usual training, which she had to repeat for the clients later. She then was determined to make it more interesting than that.

Soon, she began researching the topic, which is how she came across communication experts such as Nancy Duarte, Garr Reynolds, and others. She dived straight into this new world and was astounded by how much presentations can accomplish.

After creating presentations based on what she had learned, she decided to share them on SlideShare, where they began getting featured on the front page. And when the SlideShare editorial team chose their top 20 favorite presentations to celebrate the site’s 10 million uploads, one of hers was in that top 20. After that, she realized she needed to do something with her presentation skills.

She then shared her story on a TEDx stage, where HBO’s country manager saw her and invited her to train his salespeople to present better. And she’s been on this presentation journey ever since.

Why is storytelling important

Recently, the term “storytelling” has become extremely popular but misunderstood often. Orsolya claims that many people mistake it for motivational speaking or sharing personal stories – but it is none of these things.

Storytelling is more of a toolbox for the process of how you think about what you have to say. It helps structure your thoughts and color your ideas with great analogies and metaphors. It improves your ability to express yourself.

How to analyze your audience

According to Orsolya, audience analysis is not the first step for her, but context analysis is. Is it, for example, a multi-speaker conference or a conference room where you are the only one speaking?

Then there’s audience research by asking a few questions. What are the demographics of your audience? What are their motives and goals? Are they there voluntarily, or is it mandatory for them to attend your speech or presentation? And then what solutions do you have for them?

So, where do you go to get the details? You may always ask – email a list of questions back. The organizers are often glad to provide this information. Orsolya also suggests a free cheat sheet called the Audience Analysis Worksheet.

Brainstorming and structuring the presentation

Once you know what you want to achieve, structuring it becomes easier. Orsolya shares with us her ten-step process she does before even opening PowerPoint.

1. Take the whole thing offline.

Brainstorm, scribble, and draw on a piece of paper. Get the ideas on the page without filtering them.

2. Filter the ideas.
3. Group your ideas.
4. Label the main thoughts with keeping your message in mind.
5. Add a little structure to the ideas.

There should be a beginning, middle, and end to your story. Divide the middle into three sections – past, present, and future, for example. Orsolya claims that three is a magical number for the middle part. Close the end with summarizing.

She also reveals her strategy to begin at the finish and work backward to figure out how to start this presentation. When you know where you want to take them and where you want to take them, it’s a lot easier to locate the introduction.

6. Add the supporting points. Mix in a pop of color with stories, data, fill the blanks.

7. Put it aside for a day or two.

8. Get rid of everything that is not useful or necessary. Kill your darlings.

Is it relevant to the audience? Does it help them get where they want to be? Is it supporting my message, and does it fit the whole flow?

9. Work on the transitions.

Many people know the structure but do not necessarily know how to connect the points. And it’s a key component.

10. Do a little storyboard.

A storyboard helps you to get one idea per section of the speech.

Orsolya stated that by following her more-on-paper-less-in-PowerPoint method, people have told her they created their presentations more swiftly than before.

In review

We hope you liked and learned as much as we did from Orsolya Nemes. After listening about how to construct your presentations better and what storytelling is, tell us in the comments what your favorite takeaway is from this episode!

P.S. You determine how much time you spend on crucial presentations, but Orsolya informed us that she has seen TEDx presenters invest 80 to 120 hours into their 15 to 18-minute lectures when she works with them.


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