Two ideas for improving a presentation

Nathanael Yellis By Nathanael Yellis • Last Updated May 18, 2021

Over the weekend, I talked about lobbying with a group of students at Liberty University. Together, we built a working definition of lobbying, discussed its strategy, and analyzed its tactics.

Most politically savvy students have lobbying experience (and everyone's asked for a few more points on a paper or exam grade). Accordingly, I delivered a stripped down presentation and tried to emphasize the contributions the group made.

After I concluded, they gave me two great ideas for improvement.

Use one detailed example to walk us through the whole process: while I used a few stories to illustrate various ideas we covered, this feedback takes that idea to another level. We learn best from real experiences. Thus, incorporating real experiences into classroom learning makes it stick. Taking one real story and using it to illustrate the whole process is a perfect example of the case method. Better yet, what if I sent around half of the story and asked everyone to bring their own plan of what to do next? The mental image of what could happen makes this inspiring feedback.

Offer book recommendations: reading books is the best way to get a full understanding of how things work. A well-written monograph or strategic analysis will inspire better thinking than a host of PowerPoints. Book recommendations give people a chance to learn more. I was remiss not to include them in my presentation.

If I had this idea earlier, I would've put these two books on my last slide. While not about lobbying specifically, they represent the kind of thinking you need to do to make your lobbying effective.

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