Stick to the delta

When you’re organizing your presentation, the Rule of Three is a good place to start. For example:

  1. We’re going to do A.
  2. We’re going to do B.
  3. We’re going to do C.

The human brain loves things that are organized into threes. It tends to forget point #4, but it can always remember three things. Hit your three points, and only those three points, and then sit down.

But what’s another organizational technique you can use?

You can stick to the delta.

What does “stick to the delta” mean?

I don’t mean delta as in “the place where a river reaches an ocean.” I mean delta as in “change,” or “difference.”
When I say stick to the delta, I mean describe the change.

For example:

  • This is how things were before, and this is how they are now, OR…
  • This is how things are now, and this is how I want to change them.

Why does this work? Remember the earlier lesson, Lesson #3, about the Curse of Knowledge. Remember that the human brain thinks in patterns, and one of the best ways to hold an audience’s attention is to break the patterns, and then let the audience watch as you restore order to the world. Describe how things are, and then how they’ll change; then describe how things are, and then how they’ll change; etc etc.

If you combine these two organizational techniques (the Rule of Three and “stick to the delta”), you get the best of both worlds: a pattern of threes, which the human brain loves, and enough activity, motion, and change to keep it interested.

For example:

  1. This is how A was, and this is what A’s future looks like.
  2. This is how B was, and this is what B’s future looks like.
  3. This is how C was, and this is what C’s future looks like.

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