What’s Your Sign?

Can you summarize your presentation on one sign?

It is often difficult to sum a long presentation into one statement. But if you can’t, then you didn’t start out with the end in mind, and your presentation is in danger of being cluttered, unclear, and uninspiring.

Consider the exercise below in helping you develop your single message for any presentation. It is through limitations and constraints that we often innovate.




  • -you have an important presentation to deliver,
  • -your  slide deck was lost,
  • -there is no computer or projector,
  • -you are not allowed to say a word,
  • -all you have is a marker and a 20 x 16 inch piece of board.
  • -you have one chance to get your message across,
  • -you must hold up a sign that can be seen by everyone in the room.

What would your sign say?


What your sign says is what your ‘one thing’ is for your presentation. Everything you build in your slide deck; everything you say in your script; every example; every story; every take away document must support that one thing.

Keep that sign in your office as you design and develop your presentation. What must you present so that everyone in that room walks out with the message clearly in their head?

That is a successful presentation.