Have you ever sat through 100+ slides in a PowerPoint presentation and wondered, “what have I done to deserve this”? So why do so many business development professionals think they are the exception to the rules of presenting? When I ask that question the answer is almost always, I know its long BUT what I’ve got to say is so important and if I don’t pour out everything I know about this subject the audience might think I missed something. Now that’s a big but!
There is lots of research on the subject of presentations from Google as well as other sources. One such study showed that an audience pays attention to only 20% of what the speaker has to say– at best. Usually, after five to seven slides in people start wandering off into their thoughts – did I leave the coffee pot on, did she have fun last night, will he call me back, and so on. It doesn’t matter where the mind wanders, the fact is you’ve lost them, and more importantly, you’ve lost all that hard work and preparation that goes into a glorious PowerPoint masterpiece of 250 slides. The record for an advertising PowerPoint is 512 slides. How about you?
When presenting, you are the expert, at least, that is the expectation of your audience at the start. That impression is yours to own or lose. An excellent presentation will immediately engage and hold your audience from beginning to end, moving them from skepticism to belief, from opposition to solidarity, or where ever you aim them. A good presentation sets the fundamental argument for what you are proposing and a smart story structure weaves three compelling reasons why your offer is important to your audience – the ‘what’s in it for me” answer.
Simple storytelling is, well, simply boiling it down to:
- I know your problem – brief background setting up the conflict
- I have a unique way to solve it – strategy, how to slay the dragon
- This is how and why it will work – creative / execution
- If you agree, this is what you can expect - results
You’ve given them no escape, no opportunity for; “I don’t care about this part”. More importantly, you’ve given them 30 to 60 minutes of their life back. Who wouldn’t want that?
You can learn a lot from how TED presenters master the craft.
Michael Gass has a great collection of best practices
I like this point of view from Carmine Gallo at Forbes for those who are good but want to be better presenters.
If all else fails, this firm can create a great presentation for you:
What is the best presentation you’ve seen or given? How many slides?
I help agencies create high-performance new business plans and show them how to work those plans to optimize success. I’m always open to a conversation regardless of your needs. If you like this post, click the thumbs up, so I’ll know and then sign up for my new business newsletter. Follow me on Twitter and LinkedIn for daily tips, tricks, and insights. #LetsGrow!