I work with Fortune 500 companies and startups, helping them to design corporate culture workshops, build their investor pitch-desks and create other important presentations and speeches for their clients and employees.
The foundation of my method is Aristotelian: it's pathos, logos & ethos. My career began with heavy emphasis on pathos, because back in 2007 this was the core problem: presentations were simply boring. If as a presenter, you can't sustain the audience's attention, then nothing else matters. My public speaking heroes at the time were Steve Jobs, Dan Gilbert and Malcolm Gladwell.
Pathos, to me, is mostly about storytelling, building a narrative that grabs the audience in one emotional state, takes them on a transformational journey and leaves them later, in a different, preferably better state. People that most influenced me here are John Truby, Arif Aliyev and Robert McKee. I went to McKee's seminar in 2008 and my life was never the same.
I work using beats (scenes) no longer than 10 minutes. I also strive to create a complete narrative using slide headers. Yes, the storyline should be understandable from the headers only, the audience should not be forced to read anything else. Formulating messages for slide headers and linking them together is the core of what I do.
Logos is about critical thinking and numbers. There's now a call to make politics boring again and I understand where it's coming from. Stories are adversarial, divisive and, let's face it, manipulative. One has to balance them with a heavy dose of good old (if boring) common sense, otherwise the audience tends to make decisions they later regret. Personally, I returned to logos when I found out that quite a few presentations at TED by the people I adored, including the ones with solid academic credentials, were riddled with scientific and factual errors. Yes, a story is essential, but your data have to be sound as well. Some people call it "storytelling with data". I'd rather call it being intellectually honest and transparent about your work.
Finally, ethos is about the moral meaning of your presentation. Every story should have a moral part. This is what stories are for. They did not evolve to confer factual information, stories are appalling at that. They evolve to give people meaning in their lives, which is always eternal, moral, ethical. Is this a redemption story? A coming of age story? A survival story? Is there any moral progress here? What values are being exchanged to what other values? This is where I begin now.