Tips to present better

If you want to improve your ability to create powerful business presentations you have to master three aspects: preparation, design and delivery. In these articles I'll show you how.

In this article I’m going to share with you a nice communication model I’ve learned from Gina Barnett.  

Gina Barnett is a great communication consultant who is also a speaker coach for the Main Stage TED Conference. She also wrote an interesting book on communication, body language and presence: Play the Part.

Among other things, in her book she proposes a model that we can use in order to communicate our messages in a structured way: The Key Message Template.

Here’s how it works.

You have to split your message into 3 parts:

  • What
  • How
  • Why
What: This is the concept itself, the problem you want to solve, the idea you want to communicate.

How: How can you solve that problem? What are the specific actions you suggest?

Why: Why is it important? Why should they care? What’s the objective or the result you’re trying to achieve?

If you think about it, you can apply this model in many different contexts: in presentations, meetings, Board reports and client communications.  

For example, in a meeting, if you want to convince your Board to invest in creating a certain product, you could structure your reasoning in the following way:

What: tell them about your idea to create a new product and explain where the idea comes from. Perhaps you’ve identified a problem in the market that you know the company can solve.

How: what are the actions you and the company need to work on in the next 3/6/9 months in order to create and launch the product?

Why: why should the company do it? Is it because if they don’t, somebody else will? Is it because the business opportunity is big? The answer will depend on the context.

Next time you have an important message to share, remember the Key Message Template – What, How, Why – and think about how you could apply it to your own communications.


If you'd like to learn more about how to make memorable business presentations, check out my free report Top 7 Mistakes People Make When Creating Business Presentations.