Uncover "The IGNITE Method": 6 Steps For Structuring A Masterful Presentation
Updated: Sep 3
On April 13th 2023, 6 minutes before midnight, my inbox had a gift waiting for me.
I'd just been notified that Oracle NetSuite was trusting me to deliver the keynote speech for their Virtual Sales Kickoff to over 2,500 salespeople.
To help them unlock the power of story.
I mean, what an honour!
As I began crafting my talk with the intention of creating an audience-centric experience that connects...
I deployed my signature 6-step method for structuring high-impact presentations.
It's served me time and time again and it didn't fail me on the day.
I now call it The IGNITE Method.
Today, I want to share it with you so you can steal it in broad daylight and ignite a transformation with any audience you present to.
Let's get into it.
It's 4:59pm on a rainy Tuesday afternoon.
All of a sudden, you receive an unwanted Slack notification.
Eurgh, It's Amanda... your boss!
"Hey Sally! Any chance you can deliver a presentation at the trade conference tomorrow? Jimmy is sick and I can't make it...thanks a ton!"
Your mouth goes dry.
Your heart begins to race.
And you feel dizzier than an 18-year-old boy about to ask a girl out to prom.
There are 3 options staring at you in the face:
As Sir Alex Ferguson (former Manchester United boss) once said:
“Don’t play the occasion, play the game.”
And you've played the game plenty of times before.
Instantly, your nervous system breathes a sigh of relief.
Because in that moment, you remember you have a secret weapon.
A little something called The IGNITE Method.
You have less than 24 hours to craft your presentation (we'll touch on delivery another day).
Here's the step-by-step playbook.
You have a 60-minute slot.
But, you know only an amateur would craft a 60-min presentation.
Instead, the first thing you do is shave 10% off your talk time.
Maybe even 15% if you're feeling fancy.
Because you want to account for delays, audience interaction, effective pacing, tech mishaps and anything else outside of your control.
Also, finishing over your allotted time tells a negative story about you as a presenter...
And we don't want that.
Assuming you run with a 10% reduction, you now set your eyes on crafting a 54-minute presentation.
Let the fun commence.
P.S. In order to begin your pre-prep, you need to understand who you're speaking to, your core message, the problem your presentation solves and the transformation you're looking to provide. Today's release assumes you've already nailed this!
Let's keep it simple homie.
Every presentation has a beginning, middle and end.
As a result, you give your presentation the following structure:
With a talk time of 54 minutes, this means you have roughly 10.8 minutes for your introduction and so on.
Ohhhhh, before I forget...
These percentages are a guideline, not a rule!
Figure out what makes the most sense for your situation.
So, what now?
Enter The IGNITE Method.
This framework consists of six "modules".
I'm a sucker for a good acronym, so follow along with me!
Module 1: I - Instantly humanise yourself
Nobody cares about your accolades, employment experience or industry awards.
In order to deeply connect with your audience, they need to see you as both a human being and a potential guide.
There's no better way to do that than sharing a personal story that connects with their million-dollar problem and the purpose of your presentation.
This first module sits inside your introduction and consists of a relatable story that's memorable and a pattern-interrupting opener.
Module 2: G - Get bums on seats
The second module also slots into your introduction and focuses on "WIIFM".
Zig Ziglar's famous term stands for the very thing that will be on your audience's mind at this point:
"What's In It For Me?"
In order to get bums on seats for your entire presentation...
You need to teach people what you will give them in exchange for their attention.
Make a promise that excites people enough to stay with you until the very end, whilst ensuring they receive a positive ROI on their time.
But remember, overpromising and under-delivering is a one-way ticket to breaking trust.
For example, telling people you'll give them the tools to make $1,000,000 in the next 72 hours will crush your reputation if you don't fulfil your promise.
As they say, if something sounds too good to be true...it probably is!
Module 3: N - Name the villain
Your third module happily resides in the "Meat" section of your presentation structure.
This is where you uncover the villain aka the antagonist in the eyes of your audience.
This could be an industry trend, government regulation, a legacy belief system...
Whatever it is, I'm talking about the ONE thing that's preventing your people from getting to the promised land.
Remember, your audience is the hero and they all have something standing in their way.
The question is, what is it?
Have people acknowledge its existence.
And paint a vivid picture of what life could look like if their million-dollar problem isn't solved.
Then and only then do you earn the opportunity to become their trusted guide.
Module 4: I - Initiate the transformation
This fourth module also sits inside of the "Meat".
This is where you uncover exactly how to take your audience from pain to glory.
Remember, the goal is to provide a micro transformation with your unique method to solve their macro problem.
Think of it like this...
You wouldn't teach novice runners how to run a 26-mile marathon in 54 minutes as it would create overwhelm and result in inaction.
Instead, you'd teach them how to run their first mile so you can build confidence and momentum.
The same goes for the people in your audience.
Whether you're speaking to a group of "novice runners" or "seasoned pros", ensure you meet your audience with where they're at today.
Focus on giving them a micro-win which inspires them to solve their BIG problem.
Module 5: T - Take away decision fatigue
We now creep into the "Finale" of the presentation with the fifth module.
This is where you provide ONE "call to action" and remember to do what it says on the tin.
Call your audience to step up, take action and write the next chapter of their story.
Telling people to download your e-book...
Follow you on YouTube...
Listen to your company's podcast...
And book a free consultation call is a one-way ticket to decision fatigue.
Quite simply, provide an aligned call to action that meets your audience with where they are at today in terms of solving their million-dollar problem.
Interestingly, we don't end with a call to action.
Module 6: E - End with impact
In the sixth and final module, we end with impact as we complete our finale.
See, most presentations finish in a rushed and unintentional manner.
That's exactly why ending with a short story that reinforces your core message makes you unforgettable.
One way to do this is by "closing the loop".
For example, let's say the story you shared at the start of your presentation leaves the audience on a cliffhanger.
By referring back to the original story, providing a resolution and reinforcing your core message, you give your audience the satisfaction of closure.
The truth is, this is hard to implement and takes practice.
But when done right, you'll sit alongside many world-class speakers, performers and comedians.
If this approach doesn't tickle your fancy, then know this...
Whatever you end with, just be sure to restate your core idea.
Now that's what I call impact.
Putting it altogether
Module 1: Instantly humanise yourself
Module 2: Get bums on seats
Module 3: Name the villain
Module 4: Initiate the transformation
Module 5: Take away decision fatigue
Module 6: End with impact
Overall talk time: 54-minutes
And there you have it, The IGNITE Method.
Priming: Understand who you're speaking to, your core message, the million-dollar problem your presentation solves and your solution.
Training day: Craft your presentation using The IGNITE Method. Remember, less is more!
Game day: Practice how you'll start, finish and engage in a pre-presentation routine that puts you in the zone.
Is the reality a lot more nuanced than this?
But this should get the ball rolling.
As always, "leading with intention" is Batman and "applying context" is Robin.
Also, as I touched upon earlier...
Crafting a presentation is one thing, but learning how to deliver it with confidence and charisma is another.
Sometime soon, we'll unpack how to deliver any story or message with influence.
Until then, happy crafting.
P.S. Enjoy the content? Share the below with your leader...
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