Learn the skills you need to give a persuasive presentation for your business from one of the best in the nation; Larry Tracy. Larry will share trade secrets you need to sell to Government Contractors and beyond. Larry was a Senior Intelligence Briefer to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. In a later assignment, the White House detailed him to the State Department to debate controversial policy issues throughout the country, resulting in President Reagan hailing him as “An extraordinarily effective speaker.”
Date: Wednesday, April 24th
Time: 1000 – 1100 PST
The Murder Board “Flight Simulator” for Presenter
by Larry Tracy
Tracy Presentation Skills
Origin and evolution of the term “Murder Board”
The first known use of the term was in World War II when it was used in the selection process for Army Officer Candidate School. Over the years it became part of the preparation process for instructors in Army schools at Fort Benning, Fort Leavenworth, etc. and later the training schools of the other services.
Lessons from the Pentagon
Use of the Murder Board has gone beyond the military school system and is now used by all services to prepare those delivering briefings to senior officers. Let me elaborate on the morning routine when I headed the Briefing team for the Defense Intelligence Agency.
The first of the three Murder Boards was at 5:30 a.m., the second at 6:30 a.m. and the third, one hour later. This was a contentious environment, with the analysts who had written the items frequently complaining about how we had changed their erudite academic analyses into a more cryptic oral presentation. Additionally, graphics were constantly being changed.
That final session at 7:30 a.m., in front of an Air Force Major General and a Navy Rear Admiral, went more smoothly but once again with constant changes. Because of time constraints, the briefer and the graphics assistant had to be out of the briefing room by 8:20 a.m, often on a dead run to the Chairman’s briefing room. This daily routine was barely-controlled chaos.
Objectives of the Murder Board
This rigorous practice method, no less important in a business presentation with millions or perhaps even billions of contract dollars at stake, has three overriding objectives:
- Honing delivery skills
- Anticipating probable questions and objections
- Developing succinct, accurate responses to those questions and objections.
Why a Murder Board Similar to a Flight Simulator
Just ask military or airline pilots the importance of the Flight Simulator. They will tell you how the lessons learned inside that simulated cockpit, mounted on a moving platform with full flight deck instrumentation, taught them how to deal with in-flight emergencies and saved their lives in an actual emergency at 35,000 feet.
The Murder Board, while certainly not a life-and-death situation, is based on the same principle-that problems can best be solved when anticipated. Speaking competence is also increased, as is self-confidence. Public speaking ranks high in the pantheon of phobias because of apprehension that one is going to be embarrassed by not being able to answer questions from the audience. If, however, you have been able to anticipate questions, then you can develop answers ahead of time.
An out-of-the-box idea
An innovative twist that can pay dividends for presenters is what I call the “reverse-role Murder Board.” Ask a colleague to deliver your presentation. You sit in the “audience” and listen for how the presentation flows, if the PowerPoint slides are congruent with the oral message being delivered, and does the presentation you have drafted seem to make sense. Listen as well for how “you” answer questions.
When I did this, I found the different perspective caused me to tweak the way I eventually delivered the presentation, and I revised my answers to make them more responsive. The result was a better presentation.
Conducting a Murder Board
Recruit for your Murder Board colleagues who must also present. By helping you now, they know they will be able to call on you when they must stand and deliver. As I’ll emphasize in the webinar on April 24, Murder Boards are especially important when delivering an oral presentation to government evaluators when your company is competing for a government contract. Have several intensive Murder Boards in this situation. Companies should put as much effort into the oral presentation as has been put into the product or service being “sold.” The only obstacle to developing a question-anticipating Murder Board is your imagination and willingness to take hard hits in practice so you can be more effective in the actual presentation.
About Larry Tracy:
Larry Tracy is a retired Army colonel and speech coach He is writing a series of articles for VIBNetwork on how to conduct business presentations. He will conduct a free VBI webinar on winning oral presentations for contracts on April 24.
His recently-published book Bring Home the Bacon: Become a Persuasive Leader with the Proven S3P3 System is available on Amazon as an e-book ($4.99) and paperback, which has additional material on contract-winning presentations ($15.99). If the Link below is slow or does not work, go to Amazon.com>Books>Bring Home the Bacon.
Among Larry’s presentation-centric assignments was as Senior Intelligence Briefer to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. In a later assignment, the White House detailed him to the State Department to debate controversial policy issues throughout the country, resulting in President Reagan hailing him as “An extraordinarily effective speaker.” He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org