Acronyms: My Secret Sauce for Engaging Presentations


Have you ever gotten stuck with how to easily move from rapport building at beginning of your presentation the meat of your content? Too often speakers give too much information that doesn’t engage the audience. You might have attended one of those presentations where a lot of material was being covered but it was difficult to stay focused and follow the presenter. A great presentation is organized and engaging where your audience is clear and feels empowered by your information rather than confused, overwhelmed, or bored.

Use an Acronym to Create an Engaging and Organized Talk

Some speakers have opted to present a set of numbered steps. While that is organized, it often is not engaging enough. This is where I recommend turning your steps and/or your content chunks into an acronym.

To do so, use a word where each letter represents a topic or step you will cover in your presentation. Using an acronym creates curiosity with your audience. Participants are more likely to take notes and be engaged with wanting to consume your information and helps them remember it better too. Also, it is a memory jogger for you when you are speaking to stay on point. Just seeing the letter will help you structure and stay in the flow of your speech.

Your word should relate in some way to what your talk is about.

A simple word can hold your audience’s attention.

Create curiosity with your audience. Your audience is more apt to take notes and it helps you to stay on track. If your talk is about relationships or love, you could use the acronym: L.O.V.E. I speak about generating leads, so I use  L.E.A.D.S.

How To Create An Acronym

There are two approaches to choosing your acronym. You may choose to write your talk topics out first and then find an acronym that can fit with the content. The second option is to select a word and then think about what each letter in the word will be about could be relevant to your content.

When presenting you can talk about the letters from top down, bottom up or in a random order. The key is to be very clear with your audience about which letter you are discussing. If you are doing a random order, it is best to let them know you will be moving around the word. For example, I might say, “Our word is L.E.A.D.S., but we’re going to start with the D, then we will do the E and then the A.”

The L.E.A.D.S. Example

You may be wondering what the acronym stands for in my example, L.E.A.D.S. When I talk to audiences about generating leads, we go through the following topics from the acronym:

L is for Leverage
E is for Expert
A is for Audience
D for Database
S for Stories

Your Acronym is the Meat of Your Talk

After you build trust and rapport in the opening of your presentation, you can introduce the acronym. This is a great segue to your meaty content. When you use acronyms instead of a sequenced 1, 2, 3 style, it holds your audience’s attention and allows you to have an elegant flow. They are engaged by wanting to know what the next letter is. You won’t overwhelm an audience when you use acronyms and you’ll even be able to overdeliver.

This process is especially effective for business presentations as well as motivational presentations.

With the acronym you’ll stay targeted on one topic at a time. You’ll run on time and be in the flow of delivering value without being a firehose. After presenting your acronym content, you will do your close. I call this the sandwich structure for your talk – it includes your opening (trust and rapport building), the acronym meat, and a compelling closing.

Acronyms are the secret sauce to allowing you to overdeliver without overwhelming your audience in your presentation. You will have a clear structure for your thoughts, valuable content for your audience to easily consume your key learning points. Try it out and let me know how it goes.

Learn more with me at an upcoming virtual event of if you want help with your speaking right away contact us.

Here’s my quick overview video on how to use an acronym in your talk.

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About the author 

Arvee Robinson

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