Sep 162013

Maple syrup as used by Talbott International PresentationsI like maple syrup because it is a great metaphor.

(OK, I also like it because it is sweet and flavorful, because it goes great on pancakes, oatmeal and ice cream, and because they make large amounts of it near our summer place in northern Ontario.)

But the thing I like to talk about with maple syrup is that it takes 45 liters of maple sap to make 1 liter of syrup.

It’s a metaphor of concentration, just like the famous quote by Blaise Pascal, “I have made this letter longer than usual, only because I have not had the time to make it shorter.”

Boil down everything that you want to say in your presentation. See if you can squish every 45 words into 1 small phrase. See if you can eliminate those 45 words by letting one picture illustrate the concept. Attempt the impossible and try to make your 45 minute presentation 1 minute long. Then let everyone go home.

In cooking they call this making a reduction. In film they talk about leaving it on the cutting room floor.

I would just call this a sweet gift to your audience: concentrate your message, be concise.

Give them a taste of maple syrup. If they want more, they’ll ask for it.

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