Clarify Your Talk

present with people Mar 25, 2024
Be Clear




I love conferences.

There might not be anything else on the planet that fires me up, gives me ideas, fills my creative bucket and challenges me to keep moving forward than conferences. I love arriving, getting to know the layout, walking through the schedule, sitting in the sessions, exploring the expo hall and connecting with as many speakers and leaders as possible.

One of the best conferences I’ve ever attended also provided one of the most confusing and head scratching keynotes I have ever listened to in my life.

I got to the general session early because I wanted a great seat. If there was a speaker at this conference I couldn’t wait to hear, it was the one at this session. With my pen and journal out, I was ready to take some serious notes. I was so ready.

This speaker was a very good communicator. We laughed. They told some great stories. But, about five minutes into the talk, I started to realize that their talk was over the place. Fifteen minutes in, there seemed to be no hope for clarity and understanding what this talk was actually about.

People began to check out.

This is why clarity is so important. If you’re going to speak like a leader, you have to be clear. Clarity is your best friend.

Now, you may ask, how clear?

Have you seen a Windex commercial? I remember watching one once where the actor is cleaning the windows and outside is a group of birds. Well, the phone rings and the actor leaves the scene after cleaning the windows. As the birds take off, they fly in the direction of the crystal clean window. You’d think they are going to turn but then, one at a time, they all smash into the window.

That’s how clear our communication should be. Clarity provides direction, especially for the audience. If the audience doesn’t have to continually figure out what you’re trying to say, they can follow along.




There are a few components I use for every single talk or presentation I give. It’s the same every time. Using this structure will help you turn all the ideas rolling around in your head into a simple, clear outline. It works because it embraces clarity.

The most important components:

  1. The Hook Introduction - Don’t waste any time in the very beginning. Immediately grab your audience’s attention so they realize that they need to listen to you. 
  2. The Problem - Lay out their problem in a way that reveals that you are ultimately obsessed with helping them. Once they figure that out, you’ve made a connection. 
  3. The Know - What do you want your audience to know about their problem and your solution? 
  4. The Big Idea Statement - This is the one-liner that you want your audience to remember. Why? It opens the door to figuring out their problem and leads to the solution in a way that is repeatable, memorable, and sharable.
  5. The Bridge - These are your main points. It’s called the bridge because these are the points that hold up your big idea. I always use three points since people remember things best in sets of three. 
  6. The CTA - You cannot leave them without giving them a strong call to action. What do you want them to do with what you just presented? Challenge with a clear CTA. 
  7. The Conclusion - This is when you close your primary story loop. Did you tell a story in the introduction? Bring up a new part of the story in your conclusion and close the story. 

For over 25 years of speaking in public professionally, these are my go-to components. You can learn more about them on the ‘Speak Like a Leader’ Podcast series or check out the online course. These seven components have guided me through hundreds, if not a thousands, of talks and I know they will not steer you wrong.

If you want your audience to track with you, be clear. They will lean in when you speak and walk away understanding your big idea statement and what to do next. Speaking like a leader is possible with clarity. Embrace it and it will embrace you.


By Jason Raitz - CEO, Speak with People

Jason is married with five kids and lives in the Tampa Bay area. He loves conferences, watching baseball, and swimming in the pool. Jason is also obsessed with helping leaders like you become excellent speakers!