Unfortunately, this was one of his last lectures before he died. Its impact is recognized all over the world. Pausch was known for helping others with human interaction and communication in order to help them move forward in life. “The elephant in the room” was the fact that Pausch delivered this lecture after being diagnosed with terminal pancreatic cancer, which he addresses right away.
This memorable speech is inspirational for many reasons, but the lecture won the hearts of the audience because he included five important presentation techniques.
Below you will find techniques that will help you also resonate with your audience and convey your message in a way that they will always remember.
- Introduce the elephant in the room.
- Define the scope.
- Conclude strong.
- Show enthusiasm and immerse yourself.
- Get personal.
1) Introduce the elephant in the room.
Pausch began his presentation in the best possible way with a joke to lighten the mood. However then, he went on to address “the elephant in the room.” He introduced the elephant as his pancreatic cancer which he discussed for the next few minutes. He then connected emotionally with the crowd by doing some push ups to prove his health. Even though the audience was aware of his condition, they were not distracted throughout the entire presentation. The key lesson to gain from this is that, if there is something that is distracting your audience, address it near the beginning of the presentation and get it out of the way.
2) Define the scope.
Pausch then outlined the scope of his lecture. This included what he was going to talk about, but also what he was not going to talk about. Outlining what he was not going to speak about was important because it gave the audience a true understanding of what to expect. Outlining the scope also gives the presentation boundaries and allows the audience to connect with you. It ensures that they are in the right mindset to receive the message. Usually the audience will know the scope of your presentation before hand, but if not, outline this at the beginning of your talk. This will help the audience understand the basic framework of your speech.
3) Conclude Strong.
The conclusion is a very important part of a presentation that is often neglected. It is the last thought you will convey to your audience, so it has to be powerful. Pausch used a very common technique of summing up all the points in his speech. In fact, he did this during a few different occasions in his presentation. He also asked the audience to think about a concept he had already introduced in the presentation. This allowed the audience to replay the entire presentation in their minds. There are many techniques to conclude a presentation. However, regardless of which method you will use, your objective is to finish strong and leave the audience thinking.
4) Show Enthusiasm and Immerse Yourself.
Pausch smiled and laughed throughout his lecture. However, there were a few key moments where he immersed himself in the presentation and kept his audience on the edge of their seats.
- He wore an Alice in Wonderland hat.
- He slipped into a football jacket.
- He did pushups.
- He gave away stuffed animals.
5) Get Personal.
For many people, this may seem obvious. When presenting, open yourself up and be authentic with the audience. You will let them in to your world and take what you are saying to heart. Pausch shared personal experiences that he had learned. He tried to demonstrate concepts to the audience through personal experiences, but he did this in a way that added value to his stories. One of the most memorable parts of his speech was when he asked the audience to sing Happy Birthday to his wife. Sometimes, letting your guard down is the best way to connect with your audience.
As you can see, connecting with your audience is arguably the most important aspect of any presentation. They key to establishing that connection lies in introducing the big elephant, defining the scope, concluding strong, showing enthusiasm, and getting personal.