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Presentation Secrets Part 1
the Guided Discussion

The guided discussion is one of my favorite presentation secrets. When done well it's a great way to get your message or idea across while at the same time makes for an interesting presentation. If performed skillfully, it will appear as if your audience, with only a little help from you, have themselves reached the objective that you set for your presentation. And as your audience reached the conclusion themselves, they will be more inclined to accept your (or was it their) ideas.

presentation secrets

Pick a Card!
So what do I mean by a guided discussion? To illustrate, let me give you an example of a card trick my father often showed me when I was a young lad and amazed me no end. He would shuffle a deck of cards then hold them behind his back. He would then ask me something like:

Name two suits in a deck of cards. (Me: Clubs and Diamonds)
Good, that leaves Spades and Hearts, right? (Me: Yes)
Now choose either Spades or Hearts. (Me: Hearts)
Good, now name four cards in the suit of Hearts. (Me: 1, 2, 3 and 4)
Good, can you name four other cards? (Me: 5, 6, 7 and 8)
Excellent. Now choose any two of those cards (Me: 7 and 8 of Hearts)
That leaves the 5 and 6 of Hearts, right? (Me: Right)
Now select either the 5 or 6 (Me: The 6 of Hearts)

With that, he would then bring the pack of cards from behind his back and reveal the 6 of Hearts. Amazing! (OK, it's not the world's best, but I was only about ten years old at the time)

Of course I didn’t realize then, that before he put the cards behind his back, he glanced at the card on the bottom of the pack. With that knowledge, all he had to do was ask me the right questions until we got to the desired card which I had (I thought) chosen.

This asking the right questions to direct the audience to the desired subject is what we call a guided discussion. Like most tricks, once you know the 'secret' you realize its simplicity. The same goes for many presentations secrets. However, although the idea may be simple, perfecting such presentation secrets can take a lot of practice. But don't let that put you off trying. You need to try it to perfect it after all. The guided discussion can be a fun challenge for the presenter, and result in an interesting presentation for your audience.


 Return to Effective Verbal Communication from
Presentation Secrets Part 1


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