We are watching The Last Dance, a documentary series based on the legendary 90’s Chicago Bulls basketball team. The star players were Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen and Dennis Rodman. However, coach Phil Jackson was critical to the teams’ success. In his last season, he created a motivational tool that every speaker and presenter can use; a theme. Jackson named it The Last Dance which encapsulated the season and inspired each player to do his best. The Bulls won their sixth title in eight years.
Leverage the knowledge that writers and composers have known for centuries-- a theme is the anchoring point for a story, play or composition. It brings an audience back to the central idea or feeling of your piece and can be reinforced through repetition. But a theme can also be played with variations, as Beethoven does masterfully in his most memorable symphony. Pick a note and sing “Da-Da-Da-DAH!” and most of us recognize Beethoven’s Fifth, even though the piece was written in 1804.
When you’re composing an opening for your next presentation, first decide whether to use a story, news item pulled from the headlines, or a reference to your own experience or childhood. Then consider if a theme is suggested within your open. The Eloqui definition of theme is a brief, memorable phrase (not one word) that reflects the whole idea of your content, like The Last Dance
. In a 30 to 45-minute presentation, repeat your theme no more than three or four times, the last one near your close. You and your talk will stick in the memory of your audience.