Trust the process

Writing and presenting have always been a process for me that confuses a lot of people around me. When I present for 10 minutes or 4 hours (in the case of my mass media class) I don't read off of notes, ever. I have spent a long time crafting the ability to use the environment, the slides I choose, and the people in the audience to rebuild the presentation - nearly in real time.

It is important to me that if people have come to hear me, or at least about the ideas, that I am giving them the most up to date and relevant material I can and you can write down every word you want to say and then read it aloud, but if they are the wrong words, or the wrong way to present the topic - you lose the room and waste their time.

Feel free to pick which one of those is worse.

So I thought I would step through my process to do this, and it may not be your thing, but this is what works for me and if you can take anything from it, I am more than happy to share. 


Before I even start writing (yes, I write it down - I just don't take it with me) I spend a long time visualizing the points I want to make and the places, or concepts that can be the hardest to either present or unpack for people. I tend to stay with those until I understand them enough that my dog Marlowe is tracking along.

Then it is time to write.


I spend the most time here getting the statistics, research, or points I want to nail down. Since I am only using this as a guide to hit the points I want to hit the words are important and it needs to be in my voice, but it doesn't need to be perfect - yet.


I have been blessed with an amazing group of 4-5 people I trust to tear my writing a part. If you don't have these people in your life, stop reading and go to craigslist to find them - they are the MOST important part of all of this. I take all of their feedback and re-write til I am confident I was true to their edits while reconstructing 5 different points of view AND keeping the original points I am making in the presentation.


Once I have the piece where I feel I want it for now, I begin practicing and I do it two or three times focusing on hitting the high points. When I am comfortable I sit down and record an audio version of the talk still using the notes. In this way I use the words I want to use, when I want to use them and then I do one more thing. 

Audio Visualization

I am not sure this is actually a word, but it is certainly what I do.

I take that recording and I go for drive after drive in my car listening to my presentation. At the end of each day I do a run-through with no notes (using slides if I am using them) and then do another visual run-through while I drift off to sleep. 

After all that, I feel I am ready.

As I said earlier, it might not be a process that works for you but I am finding that I work with more and more people, vendors, partners, employees, and team members who have different processes than I do. Some of their processes I understand, others I do not. But if I have learned one thing through understanding my own process it is that none of the 5 steps above matter if you cannot deliver on the expectation. So as long as they are delivering on expectation the individual processes doesn't matter to me likely shouldn't matter to you. 

To adapt a quote from Gary Vaynerchuk here:

"Processes are shit, execution is key."

Eric HultgrenComment