Great Speeches Give a Bold Point of View

Herbert Bayard Swope

The point of their presentation was simple: they wanted to kill a high profile program that had been a costly failure.

The problem was that this costly failure was a pet program of one of the executives that would be listening to the presentation.  So rather than clearly state that the program had to be killed and then explain why, the presenting team wanted to lay out all the reasons why the program should be scrapped and hope that the listeners would reach the “correct” conclusion.

Here’s what I told them. “You just need to ‘cowboy up’ and make your point clear. Start by telling them that the program needs to go. Then give your supporting reasons.”

Few things are as powerful in a presentation as boldness.  Make your points without ambiguity.

Remember the words of Herbert Bayard Swope, a St. Louis newsman who was the recipient of the first Pulitzer Prize for Reporting in 1917 and whose birthday was yesterday. Swope said, “I cannot give you the formula for success, but I can give you the formula for failure — which is: Try to please everybody.”

Great presentations make bold points. Take a position.

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