By Justin Kerr


You spend all day at your desk filling out EXCEL spreadsheets - but every so often you get a chance to give a presentation - this is your moment to shine - don't suck. MR CORPO explains how to give a good presentation in 4 easy steps. He also compares his presentation style to President Barack Obama and Martin Luther King Jr. BONUS SECTION welcomes our first return guest - Luisa Black - to talk about her advice on how to "make yourself big" and the power of sitting in the tallest chair at the table.




How to Give a Presentation (11/30/2016)

JUSTIN: Hello, it's me. I was wondering if after all these years you'd like to meet, to go over everything. They say that time's supposed to heal ya, but I ain't done much healing. Hello. Can you hear me?


(Intro music)


JUSTIN: Hello, and welcome to another episode of the Mr. Corpo podcast. Today we are going to talk about how to give a presentation. And the bonus section today is going to feature a super special guest. It's actually a return guest, our first return guest on the Mr. Corpo podcast. So more on that later.


But you may be wondering, why did I open the show by singing Adele's "Hello"? Now, the obvious reason is, I love her. Now, the less obvious reason is, her songs capture everything that it take to give a good presentation. Number one, she gives a good introduction. She has a clear agenda. And number three, repetition. Repetition, repetition. As we get going in this podcast, you'll hear me talk about repetition, and the power of saying the same message over and over. Think about her song, Hello. She says that song and that phrase multiple times throughout the song to let you know this is the important part of the song. And to make sure you've heard her the first time.


But onto the matter at hand. Let's talk about how to give a presentation. I've actually written a chapter in my book called "How to Give a Presentation." The book itself is called, How To Write an Email. But the chapter itself is called, "How to Write a Presentation." And I've never spoken publicly about this topic of how to give a presentation. So this podcast will be the first time I'm talking about it. Presentations are a chance for you to be your best self. It's a chance for you to stand in front of your peers, in front of your bosses, in front of your boss's bosses, and show them what you're made of, and present yourself in the best format possible.


Now, most of the day, you're sitting at your computer, you're filling out excel spreadsheets. It's really hard to shine. But if you can give a good presentation, that can be worth 100 or 1,000 good excel spreadsheets. So my point is, listen up, let's learn how to give a good presentation, and you'll get further, faster in your career.


Now, in the book, there's six steps to giving a good presentation. But being the efficiency monster that I am, for the purpose of this podcast I've narrowed it down to only four steps. Number one, the one sentence overview. Number two, explain the structure. Number three, the headline. And number four, repetition. So there's four key steps. Alright, the first step of giving a good presentation is the one sentence overview.


Now, here's what I would want you to say. I am here to present X. That's it. I am here to present X. Tell them what you're going to tell them. That's right, I want you to tell them what you're going to tell them. No surprises. This is your first impression. This is your chance to say, "I am organized. Here's what I'm gonna talk to you about." And it's to get their attention. So you wanna keep it very simple, very succinct, very short. I am here to talk about X. I am here to present X. That's it. The first step is the one sentence overview. It's not two sentences. It's a one sentence overview. The less words the better.


Okay, so that's step one. On to step two. You have to explain the structure. So here's what I want you to say. There are three main points. That's it. So the first thing you did was you gave the one-sentence overview. It said, "I am here to present X." The next thing you're supposed to do is explain the structure. That means, "There are three main points." Now, your audience knows what to expect. You've told them the big topic, now you've told them there's three main points. You're writing their notes for them. This is really important because people can often get lost in the middle of a presentation or a conversation and they don't know what to listen for. But if you tell them that there's three main points, now they know to listen for three main points. The other thing you're doing with this presentation so far is, you're saying, "I am organized. Therefore you should listen to me." So, if the first thing was one sentence overview, the second thing was explain your structure.


The third thing is headlines. 04:59 Now here's what I would want you to say about headlines. I want to talk about A, B, and C. That's it. You literally only have to say, "I want to talk about A, B, and C." You need to announce the three big headlines. Again, you're helping them to write their notes for them. Now, not only do they know they have to listen for three main points, they know what is the name of each of these three points. So again, you've helped them organize their own thinking, and paying more attention to you. The main mistake people make during presentations is, they make it difficult for people to follow where you are in the presentation or what are your key facts. It's not the audience's job to figure out what the key points are. It's your job as the presenter to make it obvious and clear and simple what are their three key points that they need to listen to. Okay? It's your responsibility.


So, so far, all we've said is, "I am here to present X. There are three main points. I want to talk about A, B, and C." It's super simple, it's super clear, everyone knows where you're going. Now, the fourth step in making a good presentation is repetition. Repetition, repetition, repetition, repetition. This is the most important part of your presentation. So here's what I would want you to say: "Okay, so we've talked about A. Now we're going to talk about B." And you may be saying, "Well, I just talked about A, so why do I have to say the words, I just talked about A?" You have to say it because you have to remind everyone what you just talked about. And you see, what you're doing is, you're pivoting back to your three main points. You're pivoting back to your structure, you're pivoting back to your headlines.


So, the point is, repetition is power. Think about what President Obama gives a presentation. You'll hear him repeat the same phrase multiple times. Listen to Martin Luther King, Jr. He's giving presentations. Sure, they call them speeches, but they're presentations. In his I Have A Dream speech, he used that phrase nine times. I would argue that's an extreme version, it's a very powerful version. But repetition is the key. If you go to a Southern Baptist Church, you're gonna hear the ministers. They're gonna repeat the same phrase multiple times. And the magic number is three. It's not four. It's not two. It's not five. It's three. The power is in the three. The first time you say it, they might have heard it. The second time you say it, hey, I think I've already heard that before. Maybe that's important. The third time you say it, oh, that must be important. They've said it three times. So three times. Hit those repetition notes. So, for example, here's -- "I'm gonna talk about three things, here's topic A, blah blah blah blah blah. So now I've finished topic A, so now I'm gonna talk about B. Blah blah blah blah blah. Okay, I finished topic B, now I'm gonna move topic C. Topic C is this. Blah blah blah blah blah. Okay, now I've finished topic C. Okay, the presentation is done."


Do you see the point? Do you see the rhythm? Tell everyone when you start a topic, tell everyone when you finish the topic, tell everyone when you move to the next topic. And let them know when you've finished. Don't be afraid to repeat yourself. There's a power in the repetition. Alright?


Now, there's one more thing I wanna talk about when it comes to giving presentations. Tell people how much time it is going to take. So right at the beginning of your presentation, you wanna be able to say to people, alright, here's what I'm gonna talk about, here's the three key points, and by the way, it's probably gonna take seven minutes, so it's not gonna be that long, and then we can get to some great questions. Saying that seven minutes calms everybody down.


Just think about your own situation. How many times were you in college? How many times have you been at some fundraiser or some happy hour and someone gets up to give a speech and they start talking and all you start thinking about is, oh my gosh, how long is this person going to talk? When will they stop talking? Will they ever stop talking? You might need to get somewhere, you might wanna go out on a date with somebody. You might wanna do something else. And all they're doing is talking, talking, talking. So what are you left to do? You start looking at their notes, you try to count the number of pages they have left. You're trying to figure out, well, if they've talked this long, how much longer can they possibly talk? And guess what? Over that entire period of 60 seconds, or 90 seconds, you haven't heard a single word that they've said. All you've been thinking about is, how much longer are they gonna talk?


So as the presenter, you wanna avoid this situation. You don't want people thinking about, how much longer is this person gonna talk? Or, what is this person saying, or when should I pay attention to them? You want to tell them, hey, this is probably gonna take seven minutes. Immediately, you've calmed everyone down. They know they only have to pay attention for seven minutes. You're not asking them for an hour, you're not asking them for 30 minutes. You're asking them for seven minutes. 10:00Anyone can do seven minutes.


Now, the second part of this is, you wanna tell people during the presentation how much time is left. So, "Hi everyone, we just finished section B, I'm about to talk about topic C, there's probably only three more minutes and then we'll be done." By giving the audience this clue, this idea to say, there's only three minutes left -- what you're really saying to them is, hey, if you haven't been listening to me, if you missed everything else I've said, there's only three minutes left, so at least pay attention to these three minutes. So again, you've given them another way into the conversation if they've missed it. Or, you've encouraged them to say, keep with it, there's only three minutes left, let's keep going, anyone can get to the finish line of three minutes. So there's multiple benefits to this idea of keeping your audience in tune with you and knowing how long do they have to listen, how much longer do they need to go until the end, and dot, dot, dot.


So there's a real power in letting people know how much time is this presentation gonna take. So that's everything I have to say about how to give a presentation. If you wanna know the other two points, go out and buy my book, How To Write An Email. It's on, or you can hit me on the website, Or the publisher at




JUSTIN: Bonus section! Bonus section! Bonus section! Bonus section! Come on Lori, say something!


LOUISA: Bonus section!


JUSTIN: Bonus section! I love you!


LOUISA: That's not my name, now you gotta redo it.


JUSTIN: Okay. We'll do it all again.


LOUISA: Yeah, you blew it.


JUSTIN: Alright, let's call her Louisa.


LOUISA: That's what you did last time.






JUSTIN: Welcome to the show, Louisa.


LOUISA: But what are you gonna do about bonus section?


JUSTIN: We're gonna leave it as is.


LOUISA: No you're not.


JUSTIN: Oh, uh, yes we are.


LOUISA: No you're not.


JUSTIN: Okay, no, no, no, you're right. We will go back and fix that later in post-production.


LOUISA: No, you won't.


JUSTIN: Alright. Hi, Louisa Black. Welcome to the show.


LOUISA: Hi, thank you.


JUSTIN: Welcome back to the show! You're the first two-time guest on the Mr. Corpo podcast.


LOUISA: Yes, it's like deja vu all over again.


JUSTIN: Is that a good thing?


LOUISA: (laughs) We'll see.


JUSTIN: Listen, on today's episode we're talking about how to give a presentation. And so I thought it'd be fun to bring you on the show because you are a rock n'roll goddess. You go around the world. You play rock n'roll shows. And in some ways, you're a presenter, you're a performer, and each rock n'roll show is almost in itself its own presentation. So I'm just wondering, do you have anything to say about this idea of how to give a good presentation?


LOUISA: I think -- so I think that what I've learned is, you just have to have an intention behind whatever it is that you do.


JUSTIN: Okay, intention. What does that mean?


LOUISA: Yeah, so like, decide how you're gonna present and then just do that. You know? Make a choice. Um, and I think this is true -- you learn this like uh, you know, in acting school, too. Like you just choose when you're trying to represent something, like choose what you're gonna do, and then do that, so that you're not like vague or unfocused. I think it's the same when you're um, you know, you play in a band, like, just decide what you're gonna be and do in that moment. And then be and do that.


JUSTIN: Okay. So I'm trying to translate this into the work-a-day world for my Corpo audience and so I'm thinking, make a decision, decide what you wanna do. It's kind of like, I would say that's similar to, decide what are the key points, we talked about like, have three main headlines. You've gotta go in there and say, here's the three things I wanna get across. One, two, three. Rather than go in there and just try and be general knowledge person or gobblety-gook, or just kinda let it come out of you. The preparation you put in is gonna make for a better performance. Is that what you're saying?


LOUISA: Sort of. I don't -- I mean, I do -- I think preparation is part of it, but I think preparation is only part of it because it frees you up to do stuff outside of the prepared, like, off the script -- right? So, the more kind of like, facility and confidence you have, the more you can take risks. So I don't think it's strictly about preparing. And I'm not even sure it's about making sure, like, you know the content, although I think that helps. Um, I'm personally like a big fan of sink or swim. So I think if you bring some sort of element of risk and uncertainty to what you're doing, it can always -- it pays off by, um, often making you surprise your audience and do more than maybe what you were thinking. Um, but -- but I think -- so, I think it's more about representation, so it's not just like, know what points you wanna make, but who do you wanna be in that room. Do you wanna be like, friendly consensus-builder? You trying to make people feel good? Feel bad? Freak them out? Scare them? Bring them along? Like what are you intending to do?


JUSTIN: Well I -- but I think I wanna go back to something like a subtlety in what you said, which is you wanna be dangerous, you wanna sink or swim, these moments, you wanna have room to freestyle. But I think the strength is, if you have that rock-solid foundation and preparation and clarity of mission, off of that, it's fun to 15:03 freestyle and find room to add some unique elements. But if you just go in and say, I'm just gonna be me and just like let it all out, it can often be a hot mess. So I think it -- am I listening to you correctly to say, yes prepare, yes be clear on what you're trying to get across, and then after that is completely nailed, then you have the freedom to -- and the confidence -- to kind of freestyle and let some interesting branches grow off the tree.


LOUISA: I don't know if I believe that, cause that -- what that sounds like to me is like, you're preparing so that you can fake go outside of the box. And I don't --


JUSTIN: No, I'm not.


LOUISA: I don't mean that at all.


JUSTIN: I'm not saying fake outside the box, I'm saying, you can only go outside the box if you know what the box is. And if you don't know what the box is, you're just gonna be like a big puddle of water on the street and no one knows what to do with is.


LOUISA: Yeah, I also think there's something to be said though, like, you don't wanna over-prepare either. Right? Cause I've seen that in all kinds -- like, I think you see that in a professional world. Like, you see that in the -- like, in the commercial world, you see that in art, too. Like you don't wanna be too on the nose.


JUSTIN: Well no, that -- that -- perfection can be the enemy of --


LOUISA: Exactly.


JUSTIN: -- like, a really good job.


LOUISA: Of greatness, yeah.


JUSTIN: You know, yeah. Perfection can be the enemy of greatness.


LOUISA: Totally.


JUSTIN: Um, but I'm not -- I -- and you see that often, people try and memorize a number and they can't remember the third decimal point and they get really hung up. The point wasn't whether it was 297 or 300, the point was, it was around 300. And so I think you don't wanna get caught up in those type of details, but you wanna know what you're going out there to accomplish. But let me just kind of tilt it a little bit. When you are getting ready to go out onstage with your band, what is your intention? Or, how do you get prepared? Or, how do you ensure you're gonna have a good show?


LOUISA: Um, you have to focus yourself, and then you also have to focus your connection to your band. And I think that this is probably the same like in a corporate setting, where like, if you're doing something as a team, like, make sure you're checked in with the team, and everybody's on board, and you're all moving towards the same goal, right? So I think that's important like the worst shows that I've had -- and you only ever remember the bad ones, right? Like you have a million great shows, but the ones that really stand out are the ones that were not that good. Um, those were always the ones in my experience where I didn't um, I didn't focus and check in with the band beforehand. So we weren't, uh, it, like, once you're onstage it's too late to remember that like, you didn't share this moment of unification. It's hard to get that back, right, in the moment, cause then suddenly too much stuff is happening all around you.


JUSTIN: You're in front of other people, and you're all said -- saying, why are you screwing up, why are you doing this, and --


LOUISA: Totally, totally.


JUSTIN: -- you've missed your chance. So, so --


LOUISA: Yeah. You missed -- you missed your chance.


JUSTIN: So as a leader, I think it's important, before you go out in public, to make sure the people on your team the people that are working with you, you've kind of lined them up, they're on your side, you're all pointed in the same direction.


LOUISA: Exactly.


JUSTIN: I -- I think that's fair. Um, let me ask this: you know, I think a lot of people might get nervous when they give presentations. Do you ever get nervous as a performer? Is there anything that you do to kind of re-enforce your own self-confidence? Or -- or how do you feel when you go out there?


LOUISA: I don't think it's nervousness exactly anymore. I don't know that it ever was, um, exactly nervousness. I -- but at the same time, I don't feel like you always feel, like, confidence. I feel like you -- I personally feel like there's this job to do, and you're entrusted with something. Um, and so the stakes feel high. But it's not nervousness, exactly. Um, we have -- so I started this ritual, um, a couple of years ago because we got asked to play this show at this very big venue, um, with no notice. Um, opening for the Ravenettes. They're uh, touring band had um, something had happened, and they'd -- uh, the opening band had cancelled, and so the venue called us and said, hey, can you fill in? We said, sure. So awesome band we love, gigantic venue, great opportunity, it was already sold out, so all great, but we were totally under-rehearsed. We did not -- we didn't have a show on the books, we didn't think this was gonna happen. It was like, oh --


JUSTIN: How much notice did they give you?


LOUISA: Uh, 24 hours.


JUSTIN: Oh. Oh wow, okay.


LOUISA: Yeah. So they called us at like 4pm the day before and said, can you do this tomorrow? So um, so we crammed into rehearsal, but we were definitely, definitely, definitely not ready. And we're a trio, so um, nowhere to hide, right, if you're not ready, and -- and you're -- and you're already counting mistakes that are gonna happen. Um, so -- but I had -- I had watched this TED Talk about um, the relationship between uh, confidence and um, postures. Like, pow -- and they -- this social scientist had discovered this thing about power postures and it was this thing about how like, in the animal kingdom, when uh, animals are sort of like alphas and uh, you know, big and confident, what they do is they literally take up these postures of like, making themselves big. So they'll spread their arms super wide and stand up. And that's a signal of like, power.


And so the experiment was, could you trick your brain into feeling powerful? 20:01 Like, in a powerless situation or a risky situation, could you trick your brain into feeling powerful if you took up the physical postures of power? So um, so for this show, basically I got the guys together in the green room, um, and I was like, alright, just bear with me, we're gonna do this experiment, and I made everybody make themselves big. So you just had to take up space. So you stand up super tall, you put your arms -- arms out, put your legs out, or you put your feet up on a table, you do whatever to make yourself bigger than you normally are. And you have to hold the posture for two minutes.


JUSTIN: So two minutes you're --


LOUISA: Two minutes --


JUSTIN: You just have to be big?


LOUISA: You just have to be big.




LOUISA: And you -- like, you just be big. You take up space.


JUSTIN: Do you say anything?


LOUISA: You don't say anything, nope, nope.


JUSTIN: Are you laughing? Like, what are you doing?


LOUISA: You just take up space. You just sit there and you breathe through it. And you just make yourself big. And it's supposed to flood your brain with like testosterone and lower like, the stress levels in your brain and transform you in certain ways. And I didn't know if this was gonna work. But um, we were -- I was super stressed out, and we went out on stage and played the best show, hands down, that we've ever played.


JUSTIN: Really?




JUSTIN: And what did -- what did you think it did for you? Did it connect the three of you? Did it give you a power, like what -- what -- what did it do?


LOUISA: I think it did all -- all three of those things. All -- but -- or -- all of those things. So I think it definitely connected us, right? Cause there was this sort of like, leap of faith that I was asking everybody to make, right? Cause this is ridiculous. Like, it doesn't make any sense.


JUSTIN: Stand up, put your arms out --


LOUISA: Like, stand up, put your arms out, just do it, right? Just like trust me on this, right? So um, so I think it was partly that, uh, like, you know, asking for someone stressed and them conferring it, right? So -- which then also like, confers leadership on you, right? So that's a thing. And then the actual act of doing this thing, like taking yourself out of small, like, postures of like, you know, weakness or whatever, before you go onstage, like, it did something. And I --


JUSTIN: That's kinda some base animal instinct at that point.


LOUISA: It is. It's intense. And, yep. And the thing is like, I make now, like, we do that every time. And the idea is that if you do it enough, you no longer even have to do the posture, you just have to think about it. And then you've already internalized, like, the sensation. And you can just do it. Do whatever it is that you're trying to do. So that's the trick.


JUSTIN: Wow, alright. So I can imagine people all over their offices at work, find a little closet, go in the bathroom, go in the stall, or go wherever you want, or go in the big conference room when no one's there, before anyone's there --


LOUISA: Anywhere.


JUSTIN: And just spread out your arms, make yourself big, and own that stage and own that room. Um, I think that's really interesting. Wow, that's -- that's a good -- that's a good header. That's a good point of view.


LOUISA: By the way, related, for the ladies out there, uh, cause I used to do this and um, in my day job, so anytime I have to take -- had to take a meeting, um, I would choose whatever chair in the room was the tallest chair in the room. And just hike it up to like -- like if you're in a room with those crappy broken chairs, and they're kinda, you know --


JUSTIN: Yeah, those crappy chairs. Oh, so crappy.


LOUISA: No, but you know what I mean? Like...they're always --


JUSTIN: It could be any kind of chair at this point. Okay.


LOUISA: Yes, but often -- often they're broken. So --


JUSTIN: Alright, so what's going on? You -- you wanna be in the tallest chair?


LOUISA: You wanna be in the tallest chair.




LOUISA: Because it's the same thing. It's like the same, I think, principle as like, making yourself big. Like, it's a posture of like confidence and power. So sit up like -- sit up straight. Be in the tallest chair.


JUSTIN: What if you -- what if you sit in a chair and it's one of the ones you can't figure out how to adjust, then what?


LOUISA: Move. Just move. Like, don't even -- like don't even bother with it. Like, get up and move to the chair next to you. Like, the next chair. Like find the one that's taller that works.


JUSTIN: Okay. Alright. Well, there. Some good tips and tricks from the world of rock n'roll.




JUSTIN: And uh, Louisa Black, uh, since the last time we were on the show, it was probably like a month and a half or two months ago, what's going on with the band Rich Girls?


LOUISA: Um, played a bunch of shows in New York City. Got the -- oh, the record came out.




LOUISA: Um, coming out on vinyl in the -- in January.


JUSTIN: How's it selling? Last time you were on the show we talked about all the records sitting on the shelf. Are they finally flying off the shelf, or what?


LOUISA: This one did!




LOUISA: Yeah, this one did.


JUSTIN: Ah, the Mr. Corpo Effect. Was this after you were on the Mr. Corpo podcast?


LOUISA: No. Uh, maybe. I can't remember.


JUSTIN: Yeah, probably, alright. Well uh, where can anyone catch you -- is there any, you said vinyls coming out, is there any tours coming out? What's going on?


LOUISA: Yeah, we're working on a tour for the spring.


JUSTIN: West Coast, East Coast, give the people what they want.


LOUISA: Yeah. I think like, red state America.


JUSTIN: Okay, alright, there we go.




JUSTIN: Um, and where can people find you if they wanna follow along on your journey of Rich Girls?


LOUISA: Uh, well, we're on You know, we're all over the internets. Band Camp.


JUSTIN: Alright, you're on Instagram, Band Camp --


LOUISA: Insta, Twitter --


JUSTIN: Twitter. Okay. Alright, cool. Anything else?


LOUISA: Um, good to see you.


JUSTIN: Good to see you, too. Rob, thank so much for producing the show., 25:01 thanks for sponsoring the show. Use the Mr. Corpo discount to buy some wine from them. And without further ado, uh, Louisa do you wanna join me on an outro of Adele's "Hello"?


LOUISA: Oh, yeah.


JUSTIN: I'll start and then you can join in, okay?


LOUISA: Okay. I don't know the words. You --


JUSTIN: I'll lead you. I'll lead you. Hello, it's me.


LOUISA AND JUSTIN: I was wondering if after all these years you'd like to speak. To go over everything. They say that time's supposed to heal ya, but I ain't done much healing. Hello...okay. Can I record it one more -- keep that, but just do one more take. Okay. Hello, it's me. I was -- I don't like that take. Hello, it's me. No, I don't like that one. Hello, it's me. I was wondering if after...26:09  


Leave a comment