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The Art of the Presentation with Adam Taub

What Makes a Good Presentation?

Adam Taub used to be an intellectual property lawyer. Now he coaches senior executives in the art of the presentation. There is a link between being a lawyer and a good presentation. Forensic questioning.

Presentation, Adam Taub, The Next 100 Days Podcast

Adam calls himself a recovering lawyer. For him, it didn’t do what he wanted to achieve. The law was about strategy positions, trying to do down the other side. Often about confusing people about what your motives and intentions were. For him, it was a poor way of resolving disputes. He wanted to be more like his clients.

Science Background

Adam studied Natural Sciences at University. And qualified as a lawyer. That’s how he ended up doing patent law. It was the science and technology which Adam found fascinating. He wanted to get closer to what people were doing in incredibly exciting areas – such as software and hardware engineering.

A lot of Adam’s clients are in the area of science and technology.


Presenting Expertise

The people who Adam works with are generally operating in fields that are very complex. Some of the things coming out in science and technology are really complex ideas. The concern that people have when presenting is:

How do I tell this fairly complex story to an audience that may not be as technically proficient as I am?

If you try work out at the moment of presenting how to CLARIFY what you want to tell them and make sure that it is clear, it is inevitably going to go wrong. You need to separate what it is YOU are going to say, from way it is you’re going to say it.

Do your thinking upfront.

Talk through the ideas and know exactly HOW to present this complex idea clearly. THEN, when you stand up, you will do all the things that are important to presenting, rather than focusing on how to clarify your thoughts.

Presentation Approach

Sit down with the client. And really hammer away at what exactly is it. Your core idea of what you want to convey. This can be a fascinating process. Imagine sitting with people at the cutting edge of science. They tell Adam what their ideas are. He constantly interrogates them. Bringing his advocacy skills to the fore.

  • What is it that you are really doing?
  • Why is it making a difference?
  • Why is it different to your competitors?

Put your idea on the spot. So you have done all the thinking in advance. Before you stand up and actually have to present.

This removes all that presentation stress. You know clearly what you want to say. It removes 90% of nerves.


Clarity Trumps Persuasion

Flint McGlaughlin of Marketing Experiments┬áin Jacksonville, Florida uses the phrase that CLARITY TRUMPS PERSUASION. Poor presenters are starting with persuasion before they have clarity down. We had Flint’s colleague Daniel Burstein talking about How People Make Choices in Episode 105.

Also Whitney Cole, faces a similar dilemma helping health tech companies with their copywriting.

Do you speak ‘complex’?

Do you speak in complicated long words, when you are not clear about what you want to say? There is almost an embarrassment about speaking simply. That if you use long words and then it will make you more intelligent than they may be.

Clarity is the most honest way of speaking.

At what point does Adam help his clients?

Most of Adam’s clients are fairly experienced presenters.

Presentation, Adam Taub, The Next 100 Days Podcast

He’s not dealing with people at the beginning of their presentation journey. Nor best man’s speeches.

His clients want to know WHY they are not coming across as persuasively, as powerfully as they desire? Why is my passion for the subject NOT coming through? – that is what Adam helps them with.

His clients know this because they are not selling as much as they want to be selling. relationships are going sour. They don’t feel they are being heard?

Why Outsource Presentation Help?

The advantage of using somebody from outside is twofold.

  • You get an exterior perspective that FORCES you to explain to somebody else what it is you want to say. You may think your story is really clear in your head, but the moment you talk about it, all of a sudden you realise you cannot express it clearly.


Adam has NOTED a Rule of Thumb about his Best Presenters.

The worse presenters that he works with comes to him a day before their presentation, and say, I know what I’m going to say. Let me just run it past you. To find out what you think.

The key? Have YOU done your thinking upfront.

Confident presenters know they have the work through this thinking stage and put the effort in.

People who are afraid of presenting, procrastinate and put it off. Therefore, you get a double effect. (1) You haven’t thought through what you want to say. (2) I’m afraid of speaking anyway.

How do you use your time when presenting?

Adam advises to put aside your powerpoint slides.

Tell your story. Work with a piece of paper and words. Write it out long hand.

Write out every word. Practice it. Put it aside. That way 80% is on script and 20% you make up so the whole speech feels natural.


Your audience don’t know what you are going to say to them!

People will only remember 3 points from your presentation. What’s the impression and the critical take home point you want to act upon.

What is the purpose of a presentation?

Why not simply send you a letter? This is what I want you to know and how do you want them to respond?

The primary point of a presentation is to BUILD RELATIONSHIPS.

  • Building a relationship with the audience.
  • Especially, where they are making up their minds as to whether they will do business with you.
  • It helps you to learn about the audience too
  • The critical issue – did you progress further in your relationship.

Adam advises it is MORE IMPORTANT for the presenter to be seen in person, rather than any slides.

The preference is for your AUDIENCE TO SEE YOU. That way, your audience can get a proper assessment of you.

When you present in front of many

In front of 500 or 1,000 people. Ask the production team at the conference centre, ask they recording the presentation.

If they are, can they give a LIVE FEED to the screen? Image magnification. Like this example…

Presentation, Live Feed Image Magnification, The Next 100 Days Podcast, Adam Taub

The audience can see a close up of the presenter. Then cut between the few slides that the audience should see. They should see his expressions.

Put your request in beforehand.

Do I need a visual?

If you have a graph that can instantly communicate, use it. If you would hand out the slide as a handout.

“Actually, I have no slides” – look at the relief?


Even the most complex things are their to provide VALUE to end users. What is that?

Don’t tell me HOW you’ve done it, tell me what is the value to your potential customers. WHY HAVE YOU DONE IT?

It transforms the way people think about their presentations.

Once you understand what your presentation is trying to achieve, you are on your way.

What matters MOST to you in your presentation?

What goes wrong in presentations?

  • too long
  • unfocused
  • Words we dont understand
  • monotonous

Presenting is often seen as a chore. It isn’t. It is a privilege.

Make sure you use those people’s time effectively. You have an opportunity to persuade people about something you feel deeply about.

No seriously large piece of business is transacted without a live presentation.

You may have the permission to speak, but you still have enormous power. You have control of the space. Do not abuse the power and authority you have a s a presenter. This is my intention – can I make sure that I have your permission to run the presentation in this way.

Sense checking

  1. Look at the faces of your audience – do you agree, not agree, smiling, shaking your head.. The visual cues are so important.
  2. ASK the audience – who here has experienced this. Presenting is 2-way. There is a danger of losing control. Know when and where to bring in the audience in this way.

Every business presentation NEEDS. a purpose. No purpose, then why give it? Advance a project?

What happens if one person in the room is NOT HAPPY? If its the CEO, then engage them. If its the Negative Norman, then everyone will know they are awkward anyway.

Where did Adam learn his skills in presenting

Hans Snook, a dutch entrepreneur. He set up Orange. Started from nothing and built an extraordinary company. Adam learnt how to speak and conjure a vision. His vision for Orange is STILL ahead of where we are today.

Hans Snook, Adam Taub, The Next 100 Days Podcast, Presentation

He talked about a single login, number that the world recognised you by.

He had clarity, vision and passion. This passion, his clear thinking got people to buy in.

What you can do to make your presentation a success?

  1. There is no such thing as brilliant natural presenter. Just do it. Practice.
  2. Then repeat and repeat. It is a great tool.
  3. Prepare. Really do your presentation. Bigger impact. Timely. Crystallised, sharp and focused. You know how to close. Plus you’ll be confident.

Be natural. Be conversational. It’s not about being an all-singing and dancing performer. If you can, they will bond.

Contact Adam Taub