by Elaine Chen, Entrepreneur-in-Residence

Entrepreneurs and innovators give a lot of talks. Some are great. Others are really quite grim. How do we make sure we give a great talk when it’s our turn?

As I think about the great talks I’ve heard, I realized there are three key things that make them work.

  • Content: The raw material you are trying to communicate. This includes the information, any slides, and any other props or multimedia components.
  • Delivery: The physical act of giving the talk.
  • Narrative: The overarching structure that helps you communicate the content in an interesting way.

Great talks start with great narratives

There is much writing and even TED talks about the importance of storytelling in a talk. Kurt Vonnegut has an inimitable TED talk about the shape of a story that highlights the importance of emotional tension. All these are good tactics.

But in the end, what ties everything together is the narrative. Great content, great delivery and human interest stories can result in a good talk. A well developed narrative can make it great.

For a fundraising pitch, the narrative might follow the story of how the founders became inspired to solve a problem. They find that nothing on the market addresses this problem. They solve it with a wonderful solution. And behold! There is much money to be made. Now they invite the investors to join them in this journey by giving them money.

That’s the narrative. It’s the overarching framework in which all the facts, stories and sound bites fit.

Without an overarching narrative, you can end up presenting what amounts to an indented bullet list. Even the best speaker, with the most grippingly interesting raw content, will have trouble keeping the audience awake.

Full article can be found on the Huffington Post