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The Presentation Advice that helped elect Bill Clinton

“It’s About Relationships – Stupid”, is the title of one of my favourite presentation workshops.

I creatively swiped the message that Bill Clintons campaign manager James Carville wrote on the campaign headquarters whiteboard every morning, when Bill was running for the office of the President of America.

“It’s about the economy”

If you want to win the election, talk about the economy, that’s the key message.

Some weeks into the campaign, he added the new word – “STUPID”.

“It’s about the economy – stupid”

The additional word stupid was added to help all the team focus on the core issue.

“It’s about relationships – stupid”

My title wishes to have the same effect of helping people to focus and realise that when you present your first and most important requirement is to build a relationship with your audience, be they five or five hundred.

OK, I got it – So how do I do that?

A presentation is like a first date; spend the evening talking about yourself and how great you are, and you are unlikely to get a second date.

On the other hand …

Spend the evening in conversation about the person across the table from you and you are much more likely to have a great evening, leading to another date.

Exactly the same rules apply if you wish to be a good and engaging speaker.

Research your audience, talk about your understanding of their needs and how you can help them fulfil these needs. Do this and you have every likelihood of success, whether it’s to win agreement, sales or investment.

By Executive Coach Andrew Keogh of

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