Why Every Presenter Needs a Narrow Focus

March 25, 2015

ethos3.slideshare-blogEvery presenter needs to understand and embrace the value of two important traits: narrow focus and solo action.


A narrow focus executed alone builds character, and it begins to shape who you are and who you will become. I recently read a story about a butterfly in the book The Power of Failure. In this story, there is a butterfly that is struggling to exit its cocoon.

Observing from a distance, a young man decides to assist the struggling butterfly by making a tiny sliver in the cocoon lining to help with the escape. The butterfly eventually emerges but its body is misshaped and one wing is larger than the other – doomed for the rest of its life.

It is the struggle, the exhaustion, and the constant starting and stopping which makes the butterfly strong and healthy.


Here are 10 examples of influential figures who have succeeded because they knew how to focus:

1. When Steve Jobs returned to Apple in 1999, he reduced their product line from 256 to 10.

2. Colonel Sanders received 1,009 rejections before hearing his first β€œyes.”

3. Lance Armstrong gave up the sport of triathlon (swim, bike, and run), which he competed at a pro level since the age of 12 so he could focus just on cycling.

4. Winston Churchill would do nothing related to work between the hours of noon and 11 p.m.

5. Nelson Mandela became a legend for his 5 a.m. walks.

6. Tony Robbins engages in a writing session three hours every single day.

7. The famous philosopher Michel Foucault, only worked from 9 a.m – 3 p.m.

8. Beethoven wrapped up his work day early to enjoy a walk and beer each afternoon/evening.

9. Victor Hugo would spend his afternoons riding on double decker buses around Paris.

10. Al Gore interrupts his work day at 3 p.m. to go for a run.

Great presenters should be no different. We all need routines. We all need to understand the value of a narrow focus to get quality work done.

The grand lesson for you: Narrow your focus. Do things on your own. Fail. Revise. Try again. Only then will you build your character as standout presenter.

READ MORE: How to Trick Your Mind to Stay Calm On Stage

About the Author

Scott Schwertly is the author of How to Be a Presentation God and CEO of Ethos3, a Nashville, TN-based presentation boutique providing professional presentation design and training for national and international clients ranging from Fortune 500 companies to branded individuals like Guy Kawasaki. If Scott is not working with his team building presentations, you will find him in the pool, on the bike, or on a long run. Scott lives in Nashville, TN with his wife and three dogs. He has a B.A. and M.B.A. from Harding University.

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