A bestubbled man, dressed in his trademark dark suit and open neck shirt, strides up and down the stage. Jeff Weiner, the CEO of LinkedIn, is about to do something that we all do from time to time—give a presentation.
CEOs typically do this well. For the rest of us, presenting is a key tool we must learn to use effectively if we want to get ahead. Jeff Weiner is a masterful architect when it comes to structuring speeches. By studying Weiner, a successful business leader, and his speaking style we can learn a lot about how to make our own presentations more effective.
The Building Blocks of Weiner’s Style
Presentations are made up of three building blocks:
- Words — the language we use
- Structure — the organization, flow, and narrative
- Pictures — both actual and mental images
Weiner uses all three of these building blocks well. He is a presenter type we call acounselor. Everyone has his or her own particular style of speaking—a presenter type. There are six different types of presenter. If you understand which presenter type you are—and where your strengths and weaknesses lie—you will find it easier to improve your skills. And by studying famous presenters, you can get a better understanding of what different presenter types look like on stage.
Jeff Weiner is a classic counselor-type presenter. As the name suggests, counselors are naturally good speakers, skilled at making structured arguments. Let’s take a look at the structure of this keynote he gave in 2012 in Las Vegas.
Weiner’s speech has a logical structure. It starts with a hook—a way to get the audience to lean forward in their seats and anticipate what’s coming. Then the meat of the presentation—a way to easily organize the presentation so that the audience knows where they are, and can follow along. Finally, Weiner builds to a payoff — a call to action that invites the audience to participate.
Prezi has a good analysis of this presentation: