A group of conference attendees stand on stage holding up their copy of the book The Confident Presenter.

I was in Berlin last week for two days. I love traveling for work because

  • It doesn’t happen often, so I can enjoy the novelty
  • I’m my own boss — a small dose of space from the family can really feel good
  • It means I’m getting to do something I really value: which is share what I know and love to do.

Last week I was there to teach a workshop session on public speaking at the Dealmakers 2023 conference. I had 90 minutes to give the participants as much value as I could. So I created an acronym (RAMP) that I’m quite happy with.

So I thought I’d share here as well, because it’s pretty damn useful.

The RAMP of public speaking

The RAMP itself is four key tips that you can take with you into any future public speaking engagement and be sure to improve both your enjoyment and the effectiveness of your slot by about 200%!

A presentation prep framework (RAMP)

  • Relationship — The first and most foundational element of public speaking is to tweak your relationship to it. I go over this in-depth in the first part of The Confident Presenter, my book on public speaking. The reason for this is simple: if you don’t have a healthy relationship with public speaking, you can forget the rest of this stuff. Because it won’t work. Now, you don’t need to love it, but you do need to get out of your own way and at least engage with the process.
  • Authenticity — I love this part as it’s like a superpower. Yet it can be glossed over or left out entirely of some public speaking frameworks. The idea here is that the more yourself you can be, the stronger your platform, the more personal your message, and the more likely you are to click with your audience. So it can come in the form of telling anecdotes or sharing your own feelings and ideas on a topic. Or even revealing some small details of your own life. When you don’t try to be someone else, and instead bring more of who you actually are, your presentation is much more likely to land effectively.
  • Message — One message. That’s it. What is the thing you want to say? Then say that and make sure everything you say falls under that heading. When we don’t have a clear message, or have more than one important message, or even just a whole bunch of facts or data points or information, it can be challenging for our audience to retain anything (because they’re not even sure what to retain). Get a message, and make sure everything in your presentation supports this main point.
  • Practice — This is the last bit of the RAMP and the key to getting lift-off. Once you’ve got everything lined up, you need to practice. Like a lot. Of course, you can over-practice and have it come out stilted, but this isn’t a likely outcome. The best thing you can do is actually two things: one: get practice at being in uncomfortable and challenging situations, including giving presentations or speaking up in meetings and at events. This will make public speaking seem less daunting. And then the second thing you can do is practice your actual presentation. Run it multiple times, and run it backward. Work your transitions. Keep tweaking until the final moments.

    And, surprise surprise: when you’ve practiced a bunch, your presentation will run smoothly.

Building the RAMP in Berlin

I took the whole group through this framework. And we added some more practice elements as well, working on gestures and body language. Plus, at the end of it, everyone got a book, like I’m some kinda Oprah.

What I learned is that this framework, while brief, is something really helpful. It was useful for the participants, and as a trainer/coach, there’s not much more you can want than that.

The RAMP matters: One more note on messaging

One of the reasons I love acronyms is because they kind of smuggle in multiple messages into one key message. So, for example, RAMP is actually four key takeaways, but instead of leaving that as the core of my topic, I have RAMP. Which is one message that combines the four key elements of my presentation. And now you remember all four of them. See how that works?