Unpacking my preparation for a speech

I’m preparing for a new conference talk. I’ve done this exercise many times now, and I’ve developed a unconscious routine that gives me confidence and makes me comfortable. My routine is the result of actively trying to improve the way I present by reading, watching and practicing, but I never reflected on my process. I’ll try to unpack it, in order to better understand it.

Here are the types of elements I’m using for my talk.

Core concepts. Ideally, the whole talk is a coherent story, revolving around one major idea. Everything else is just a collection of evidence to convince your audience that your idea matters.
==> In this talk, I use 1 concept: Complexity antibodies

Reframing. One good way to make people change their mind is to suggest them a different way of looking at the world.
==> In this talk, I use 1 reframing: things don’t start simple, they start complex; therefore, you shouldn’t try to avoid complexity but fight it instead

Concrete applications. When people are exposed for the first time to an idea, its implications aren’t obvious. You should use your head start to help your audience accelerate their learning by allowing them to see the idea materialize its benefits in specific situations.
==> In this talk, I use 3 concrete applications: usability test, design review, and roadmap planning.

Sources of knowledge. I mention things that have inspired what I’m talking about. By being transparent about my sources, I build credibility regarding some of my statements, but I also allow curious people to go further than my talk, onto more advanced levels. I prefer to mention sources that are accessible to anyone, as opposed to conversations with people, which could be harder for anyone to look into.
==> In this talk, I use 3 sources of knowledge: Checklist Manifesto (book), Insanely Simple (book), Nothing (movie)

Elements of context. Talks can become too theoretical. Sharing the context around core insights, new concepts and concrete applications helps reduce that risk. By adding elements of context, you help people figure out if their situation is the same as yours. You provide limits to your own assertions, preventing the pitfall of sounding more dogmatic than you really are.
==> In this talk, I use 1 element of context: why simplification mattered for my company at that time

Metaphors. Introducing a new idea can fail miserably, because you usually underestimate how long it took you to grasp this idea. It’s called the curse of knowledge: once you know something, it’s very hard to remember what’s it was like when you didn’t know it. Which makes you skip steps that would help people to follow your train of thought. Metaphors are good learning aids: you take a reference people understand, you introduce an unknown reference, and you highlight the commonalities between the known reference and the unknown reference. By doing so, you create a path from existing knowledge to new knowledge, which will help people understand, store and retrieve that piece of information.
==> In this talk, I use 4 Metaphors: boat emergency #1 rule / core insight, Pythagoras cup / roadmap planning, camel-horse comparison / design process, antibodies / simplification tools

Attention tricks. Regardless of the quality of the other blocks, your audience’s attention will wander unless their brain is teased by something. The longer the talk, the more likely your audience is at risk of losing your train of thought. I spread attention tricks all across my talk to keep their attention at the highest level. My objective is not for me to be interesting, but for them to feel good about having spent their time attending that talk. Attention tricks contributes to that objective in multiple ways: it makes the talk a more pleasant moment to them, it gives them anecdotes to talk about after, and it increases the likelihood that they will leave with a piece of information that corresponds to what they were hoping to get from your talk.
==> In this talk: 5 attention tricks: giving a mental puzzle and moving on without solving it, starting the talk with a seemingly unrelated story, attacking a widely accepted piece of wisdom, making an unexpected visual comparison, making a demonstration with props

Moments of participation. To reduce the learning gap between your audience and your content, you can give prompt to the audience to make one step forward. By using their own situation as a starting point, they can connect dots in ways that you wouldn’t be able to do, because everyone’s situation is different. Your talk can only remain general, so let people personalize your content for them.
==> In this talk: 2 moments of participation: asking people to raise their hand when they identify themselves with a category I’m describing, asking people to solve a puzzle I’m giving them

Personal stories. To demonstrate your belief in the content you’re sharing, you can strengthen the link between your content and yourself.
==> In this talk, I use 3 personal stories: an eye-opening discussion with a mentor, a boat trip with a friend, an application of a work tool to fight stress

Learning a new board game

Un carnet de caractère

L’école tue-t-elle la créativité ?

On en reparle dans 9 ans

Advice I’ve been giving others

Learning happens in stages

L’aimant à opportunités

Taper juste

Vouloir percer le mystère

Sous prétexte de profiter du moment

Donner une évaluation à quelqu’un

Etude de cas : mes résolutions 2014

Comment tenir une résolution

Pourquoi écrire

L’avantage caché de la liseuse sur la tablette

Arthur vs Lancelot

4 raisons de voir l’expo Pixar

Pourquoi prendre une résolution

Identifiez votre meilleure idée

Apprendre à jouer aux échecs

Best gift I’ve received this year

Les moments de vide

3 ways to improve your focus

Quotes

You become an expert

Do you suffer from mental inertia?

Discovering your unconscious topics of interest

What should I do?

A leader points in a direction

The challenge of delegating

Psychological mecanisms

The entry point

The more experienced you are

An old problem

Quand l’inspiration survient

Choisir ses batailles

Une autre solution

Un chemin pavé de doutes

Trouver son énergie interne

Une idée n’est qu’un véhicule

Pause

Lui n’a jamais su

Les mots gratuits

5 trucs contre l’insomnies

Deux secrets

Générique de début

Le calendrier de l’habitude

Un jongleur ne regarde pas ses mains

S’extraire de son environnement

La bonne étoile

Regarder dans une autre direction

Nicolas le stratège

Une fois entamée

La rigidité du rituel

La chance de la danseuse de flamenco

Les pulsions se nourrissent du vide

L’allié de mon cerveau

Les idées timides

Arrêter le hoquet

Le meilleur levier de changement

Rester à l’intérieur du bateau

Réagir plutôt qu’initier

Vous serez tellement terrorisés

La bonne distance

Clarifier ses idées

Se préparer, pour faire face

Moins, mais mieux

Chaque matin, c’est la stupeur

Dessine-moi un poisson

Sens-tu la distance ?

Pousser tellement loin

La volonté est un muscle

Le secret pour changer n’importe quoi

Vous ne savez pas comment votre cerveau fonctionne

La méthode des petits pas

Artiste parce que la vie c’est compliqué (en gros)

Privé d’emails pendant 3 jours

Garder une trace

Sur le bout de la langue

Se fier à son intuition

Qu’est-ce que l’engagement ?

Les choses auxquelles on a dit oui

La furie et la foi

Votre attention s’il vous plait

Construire quelque chose de tangible

10 choses apprises en 10 ans d’obsession

Qu’est-ce que je vais faire de ma vie ?

Une seule empreinte de pas

Il suffit d’une touche

Ces collègues ne savent pas qu’ils font l’objet d’une expérience

La communication qui passe par de la technologie

Dix fois plus d’effort

Au sujet de mes insomnies

Se confronter soi-même

Assis devant

Savoir si l’on est bon

35 bras

Légèrement désynchronisé

L’accérélation de l’addictivité

Avoir du temps

Les journées sont longues

Un shoot de nouveauté

Un monde qu’on ignorait

La configuration la plus simple

Percevoir la puissance

Non

Des freins invisibles

5 étapes

On peut manger tous les jours

Une utilisation trop systématique

Quand on manque de temps

Une opportunité en or

Le chemin de la simplicité

Redéfinir les tâches récalcitrantes

Ta vie se façonne

Exactement à mi-distance

Garder les choses simples

Aussi légère que possible

Face à rien

Sortir les souvenirs de son cerveau

The sum of what you focus on

La possibilité de zapper

Courir après le temps

Le problème central

Très peu de méthodes

Ce qui n’est pas mémorisé

Je ne comprends pas

Être patient

Ne pas chercher l’outil parfait

Personnaliser ses listes de tâches

Y consacrer du temps

Lire deux heures par jour

Un chemin de croix

La raison profonde

Sous le signe d’un mot

Quelques décisions

Arrêter de penser à

Je creuse, en boucle

A perte de vue

Y associer des gestes

Apprendre à lire plus vite

Pourquoi je l’avais ouverte déjà ?

Inéluctablement

Certains signes

On dérive en permanence

Invisible le reste du temps

Trouver plus d’aiguilles

Avec pour seul indice ce souvenir

Les automatismes prennent le pas

Une ère de profonds changements

Chercher la concentration

Ses engagements

Etre capable de se concentrer

Navigation entièrement maîtrisée

Il n’écrit que lorsqu’il est épuisé

L’impact de mon commentaire

Il faut lutter contre chaque lien

Le flou qui l’entoure

A l’origine de cette pulsion

Le secret des rimes embrassées

Passer à côté du beau

Guérir son addiction au web