What A Baseball Manager's' Profanity-Laced Press Conference Can Teach You About Preparing Your Next Presentation

Cincinnati Reds manager,Bryan Price’s, rant toward the media the other day was stuff of legends – 77 f-bombs in under 6 minutes. Epic.

As entertaining as it was, other than the obvious (what NOT to say in front of a live microphone), the lesson with respect to preparing for a presentation actually came in his apology

While I stand by the content of my message, I am sorry for the choice of words.

Almost anyone that has ever prepared a marketing deck, pitchbook or other presentation, has come to realize that it can be life sucking, gray matter-killing work.   You find yourself re-writing, re-creating and re-designing over and over until you run out of time or collapse from exhaustion.

But there is an approach that we have come across that makes this process a whole lot more efficient.  And yes, Bryan Price mostly nailed it in his apology.

Although, I think that he has these backwards, the takeaway is in his distinction between “message” and “content.”

Actually, for a presentation, it’s in the distinction between “message,” “content” and “delivery.”

Like I said, I think Price has it all a bit confused – but he is on the right track.  To clarify…

1. “Message” is the concept you are attempting to communicate.  It can be wholly conceptual.  For Price, that is basically, “Reds media - stop sharing personal team information!” (which is an absolutely silly message to be expecting from the media).

2. “Content” is the language that you use to describe that message.  In this case, it is 77 f-bombs in 5 minutes, 34 seconds.

3. “Delivery” is how it is presented.  His tone, wearing his uniform, arms flailing…whatever. For a PowerPoint – it comes down to the design and structure of the slides along with imagery and creative.

Case Study: Before and After

What we find after working with clients on presentations is that they rarely invest the time upfront to distinguish between these.  That is at the root of all of the backend revisions.

Far too often, people get stuck trying to visualize how a picture will look on a page to describe a message that they haven’t even articulated.

From message to content - the six words that Apple used to define the iPod

The takeaway sounds so incredibly simple but Price proves the point brilliantly – sharpen your message.  Don’t type even a single keystroke until the message is crystal clear.  Our own approach with clients is typically a two week intensive process.  It is a measure twice, cut once mentality.

Had Price f-ing done this, he wouldn’t be spending the next f-ing week watching himself on the f-ing news and hammering out f-ing tweets to f-ing defend himself.

By JD David