We are a fractious nation, always searching, always dissatisfied, yet always hopeful. We have an infinite capacity to rejuvenate ourselves. . . . We will continue to flourish because our diverse American society has the strength, hardiness, and resilience of the hybrid plant we are.
Colin Powell with Joseph E. Persico, My American Journey (New York: Ballantine Books, 1995, afterword 1996), pp. 595-596.
The room is dark save for the light of a small overhead lamp. A figure is intently pecking away at the keyboard, watching the screen fill with words. The figure alternately expresses joy, optimism, indecision, and despair. Dollars to doughnuts this poor soul is writing his presentation. Lord, protect him. He needs help fast.
If you have found yourself in this situation, you are not alone. Every leader who crafts his or her own words, or even polishes them, sweats the details. Sometimes the words come in a torrent. Other times they trickle like raindrops in a mist. Other times, there ain't no drops at all. It's dry, man, dry!
Welcome to the world of making leadership presentations. Putting meat on the bones—that's what content is. And if you follow a simple step-by-step process, you will be able to add more meat faster and better than a turkey farmer can the month before Thanksgiving.
The secret, if there is one, is organization. Organization is fundamental to an effective presentation. The presentation that rambles is the presentation that is forgotten not as soon as it is over, but while it is still going on. And cheer up. You have already surmounted one of the biggest hurdles: You have your message. Now your challenge is to craft the content around it (see Figure 6-1).