Leaves Your Audience Hungry For More! — Presentations That Get Results

Regardless, if your goal is to make a sale or educate. You don’t want to fall prey to the mistakes that many presenters make — loading us down with piles and piles of information and communication hodgepodge. Excellent presentations are designed to anchor in the key points that are relevant for influencing the listeners to take some kind of action.

When you make a presentation to a committee, corporate board of directors or presenting an all day seminar, your aim is to accomplish two very important goals. First, it is crucial that your audience walk away with a “Top of the Mind” memorable experience. Second, you want to influence your audience to take an immediate or future action. Every, presentation should have an outcome and action steps for your audience to take.

For us to accomplish those two goals we need to help the audience focus-in on our presentation so that we touch and communicate with the head and heart of our audience. Effectively, we want to mesmerize, hold their attention and filter out any outside distractions that would compete with our presentation and desired outcome.

We are visual beings by nature. Our eyes, being the most powerful information conduit to the brain, are always in motion feeding us images and disrupting our thought processes. People have limited attention spans and information processing capabilities. Therefore, we as presenters need to simplify the communications to hold attention for influencing the thinking of our audience.

I use a very powerful communication technique that anyone can apply with their very next presentation to accomplish extraordinary results. Your presentation and visuals will communicate faster, clearer, better and be more congruent — eliminating the communication hodgepodge that so many presenters use.

First, reduce all you visuals to pictures and either eliminate words and numbers altogether or reduce them to three or less per visual. Visuals should be used as anchors to support your key points that you want your audience to remember.

Second, your visuals must be associated in some ridiculous and/or illogical way for transferring key points and word phases for your audience to remember and retain your information.

A simple example is: You are giving a financial report showing an increase in earnings for your division. You could use a rising balloon lifting a building block, showing the percentage of increase stenciled in the block, giving your audience and image of growth and profits. Visuals that are your typical bar charts, graphs, and lines of words are boring and have a lesser impact connecting with your audience. Whereas, ridiculous and/or illogical visuals add retention, entertainment, and can illustrate with greater impact the benefits, not just facts and figures of your presentation.

Third, support your key points and visuals with a story.

Here’s how it works:

In delivering a presentation, recently to a group of sales people, one of my key points was that we have to understand our customers buying strategies and buying incentives for us to influence them to make a purchase from us. The visual that I used (now visualize this in your mind) was a man peering over a chessboard with his chin snuggled on his tightly clutched hands with a very pensive look in his eyes. The picture was stretched and elongated to exaggerate the image to influence the inner thinking process that our customers go though in their decision-making.

I then illustrated the point with a story of how one of my clients went about uncovering his clients’ strategies, buying incentives and how this same presentation process helped him get the sales and acquire a major key account for his company. Most importantly during the story I explained how my client was able to fine out what would create a win situation for his client. That gave way, for transitioning, to the next key point and slide in the presentation.

The visual was dynamic in that it supported the key points and anchored the story in the mind of the audience. The story used was linked back to the visual and was congruent with the key points.

This presentation process reinforces your points and makes them easy to understand. You can take any subject from a ten-minute annual report presentation to an all-day training session and use this approach of structuring your presentations. When you substitute lines of words, boring bar charts and graphs, with key points, supportive stories anchored with ridiculous visuals, you make it easy for your audience to assimilate, focus, remember and become engage and mesmerized with your material.

Making An Effective PowerPoint Presentation

I’ve designed PPT presentations for companies that included all the information they wanted the “audience” to learn, and did it in what I thought was an intelligent and well-planned-out format. It began and ended utilizing a logical order of slides that included running subtleties that appeared on each one, cleverly designed to persuade the viewer in low-key ways, eventually wrapping up the presentation in a final slide pitch for their business.

Each slide provided all the information necessary to educate the viewer in that category, supporting graphic(s) or picture(s), and a repeating header/footer that reminded them each time what the product was and what company was making the presentation. What I learned was this might be great for sending out a PPT movie where having the absence of a presenter was expected, but when it came to the real hands-on, down-and-dirty deed of facing your audience, some of the business-as-usual did not apply.

Consider the preferences of the person responsible for the actual delivery of the presentation; sometimes it might be a member of the company, other times it might be a professional sales organization. In either case, the individual who has the task of delivering the message usually has their own delivery style, and that my friends, is the person you have to please if you’re going to have a chance at success.

When the outcome of a PowerPoint presentation is in your hands, you get to decide on its final content. You can keep the graphic and pictorial support, but the written content has to reflect your “style” of delivery. I’ve found that most seasoned professionals like it to include brief bulleted text rather than paragraphs of copy. It gives that person the ability to speak on every subject and keep the attention on themselves, eliminating dead time while waiting for their audience to read the message in varying degrees on their own. They like to continuously hold the floor, not create awkward periods of silence while some take longer to read than others.

So the next (or first) time you consider making a PowerPoint presentation for any reason, consider the delivery method and consider the person who’s going to make the delivery. Check with that person for their basic preferences before embarking on the design. Remember, it’s not only the look of the slide content that will sway your audience but the combination of your slides and the convincing nature of your presenter. It’s a partnership that must be considered if the outcome is to prove successful.

Common Sense and Presentations Skills in Getting Jobs

Many students often ask me how I can pass a job interview, assessment centres etc…

I always answer in a simple sentence: Common sense!

Always have a common sense. Not only have common sense but also try to demonstrate it because the interviewees/assessors will ask you several questions to see whether you have such quality or not.

(I will write more articles in the near future to elaborate on each point)

Another tip for securing a good job is presentation skills, people often think they have such ‘talent’ by being able to speak clearly or loudly; however, they often fail terribly at it.

My advice is: get the content right because nothing worse than a presentation with a shallow content, remember you have to know more than your audience, otherwise they will crush you with questions afterward.

A simple strategy is to have a structured presentation including: Agenda (what you will cover in the presentation), Introduction (what you will take about), Main body (the actual content) and Conclusion (a summary of what you covered).

The delivery style is as important as the content, think of politicians, they are often great speaks with crap content.

Good delivery style, from my own perspectives, relies on the ability to present without using notes or reading off the slides (if you’re using Powerpoint), practice your presentation over and over before presenting. If you are in an assessment centre, make sure you stick to the point, be precise and don’t waffle, I find it very helpful when I write on a flipchart while presenting in an assessment centre, because I won’t have PowerPoint facility and the time to prepare.

As a final point, always always always maintain an eye contact with ALL the audience as it will differentiate you from an average presenter.