I remember the excitement of learning my first, real presentation model.  Although I enjoyed public speaking, I had never received any formal training.  I learned an approach that I’m guessing many of you have heard before:

Tell’em what you’re gonna tell’em,


Then tell’em what you told’em

It changed my way of thinking, dramatically improved the presentations I was delivering, and gave me structure that I was sorely missing.  Oh, did I mention that I learned this model when I was in 9thgrade?

Tell’em what you’re gonna tell’em

I’m not suggesting that this isn’t important, but I am suggesting that it is ridiculously simple, and missing many key components.

  • What about telling’em what’s in it for them to listen to you in the first place?
  • What about telling’em what the big picture of your message is?
  • What about telling’em what you expect from them when you’re done telling’em?
  • What about telling’em who you are, where you information is coming from, and a proof source or two about how what you’re about to tell’em has worked for others?
  • What about starting with something creative that grabs the attention of your audience before you even begin telling’em what you’re gonna tell’em?

Seems there’s a lot more to telling’em what you’re gonna tell’em than first meets the eye!


Also known as the body of the message, this is usually the easiest part of a presentation… and the most misjudged.

  • When you tell’em, will you be organizing your notes in a word outline, sentence outline, or manuscript? (I’m rooting for anything but a manuscript!)
  • When you tell’em, will you be cautious to avoid the mistake of telling’em too much? Too much information happens to be the single biggest mistake made by presenters – bar none!
  • When you tell’em, will you make sure to build room for audience participation, questions, facilitation and anything else that will allow you to stop telling’em and let the audience be a part of your presentation?

Seems there’s a lot more to telling’em then first meets the eye!

Tell’em what you told’em

Here comes the part where you nail that big close of yours.  You do nail that big close of yours, don’t you?  If you do, then I’m assuming:

  • You tell’em what you told’em by creatively reviewing the key points of your presentation.
  • You tell’em what you told’em by reminding the group they met the objective you established when you began your presentation.
  • You tell’em what you told’em by finishing with the best quote, story, or creative move you possess.

You see, if you really want to deliver a world-class presentation, there’s more to it than what you’d find in that old, tired, underachieving model we’ve been dragging around since high school.  There’s a lot more to it, and if you need proof, try performing this small task. Look at every single bulleted item in this BlArticle® and ask yourself this: If your goal was to deliver the best presentation of your life, which of those bullets would you identify as unnecessary?

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