Express the big picture with your big idea

Crowns are used to represent power and convey legitimacy to the person wearing them. But crowns are not only for kings. You can ‘wear’ one to represent your expertise. Your crown of expertise is your big idea and frames everything you speak on. It provides the context for your talk and helps the audience understand the big picture before you go deeper into detailed content. Let’s illustrate with four examples:

1. Rory Vaden in a recent talk in China explained his big idea as “take the stairs”. He used it as a metaphor to mean literally stay in shape and also symbolically as the pathway to success. It’s easy to understand, remember and pass along.

2. Simon Sinek, a professional speaker, has a big idea called “start with why”. Simon believes that before you decide on a career, you should first understand what drives you by clarifying your passions in life. All his talks are hooked back to this main theme.

3. Educator Sir Ken Robinson’s big idea is to “increase creativity in schools”. He delivered two famous talks to TED Talks ( on this topic. His humorous delivery was effective because it reinforced his core message.

4. Zappo’s, an online retailer, big idea is to deliver “wow through customer service”. Their customer-friendly service allows goods to be returned up to one year after purchase and offers free shipping both ways.

Your big idea is your crown of expertise. It is expressed in three to five words, and can be applied to your job, your experience, your background or just a topic you like to speak on with passion. Create a big idea for your next presentation to help the audience remember your main message. With a big idea, you can also better filter ideas and decide how relevant they are for your speech

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