In a new post for B&T, CEO of The Presentation Studio, Emma Bannister (pictured below), offers her top tips to transform your presentations from bumbling to brilliant…
Presentations are our most powerful tool in entrepreneurship today. They’re how we communicate information, ideas, vision and value. Yet, the majority of the time, we present our innovative ideas all wrong. We hide our important messages in badly designed slides, complex paragraphs of information, and screens of bullet points that have no clear purpose or call to action.
It doesn’t matter how ground-breaking your idea is, if you can’t communicate it clearly then it’s lost. Here are three ways to help you avoid all of this and transform a poor presentation into your most powerful one yet.
#1 Be human
The first step is to realise that there is no more B2B or B2C in today’s communication landscape. We can no longer hide behind corporate jargon, blanket statements or even our screens.
What the world needs today, what your customers, clients, stakeholders and investors are actually in need of is H2H – from human to human, a natural connection through compelling visuals and emotional stories.
You must make your audience the hero of your presentation. That means you need to think about their needs, why they have blocked out time to come and see you present and why they should care about what you’re saying.
Remember every presentation has a goal, whether it’s to sell a big idea, share results or simply educate. You need to be the Michelle Obama or Elon Musk of your industry. You need to share your passion and commitment to your idea and product in a way that makes your audience move.
#2 Show emotion
We’ve been brought up on this idea that we should hide any signs of human emotion in business – and that simply isn’t true.
Research proves that our decisions – whether we buy or buy-in to something – are influenced by our emotions.
Up to 90 per cent of the thousands of decisions we make each day are reinforced through our feelings and emotions. In fact, studies have shown that 74 per cent of participants have changed their decision after their emotion was changed.
So, think what you want your audience to feel after they watch you present. Should they feel angry and compelled to act now? Or excited about your new vision or idea?
Use images and video to create sadness, excitement, inspiration or even anger if it’s appropriate to your cause. I’ve seen people use videos to create something that moves the heart strings and impacts their audience’s decision to ‘buy in’ to what you are saying.
I have also been at an event where the speaker invited a traditional owner onto the stage to talk about his personal experiences firsthand in the Aboriginal community. His story was so real and emotional that it made the presentation unforgettable.
#3 Share the journey
Storytelling is the most powerful form of communication ever invented. We learn, entertain, communicate and socialise, through stories. Storytelling in business spins facts, figures and information together with emotion to make them memorable.
We need to share stories, to share the emotional journey of our business or brand, the ups and the downs, otherwise our clients, customers and stakeholders think we are hiding something. They perceive that there is something untoward or even nasty going on.
We need to acknowledge the elephant in the room or the challenges of the past (think financial institutions or even cricket teams).
Persuasion come from describing where your audience is right now and connecting with them with where they should be. Tell them about that future place and how you can achieve that through the actions you describe.
Give them a glimpse at the solution – with your idea in it.
When you share your vision and goals through compelling stories and slides that take your audience on the journey with you, then you reduce fear and instil confidence in everyone involved. That’s when they will connect to a future they want to be a part of.