In our humble opinion, this is an example of a perfect face-to-face presentation. In every slide the audience members can read the entire slide in less than 5 seconds. This means that at least your presentation is not a source of distraction to your audience. This means that your audience can actually listen to what you are saying. This should be every presenter’s goal, to connect with your audience. Imagine the presenter of this message making their case, imploring the audience with passion. You can almost imagine their high level of success. And it has nothing to do with putting a lot of words on a slide.
Read the first three slides of this PowerPoint presentation. You can almost feel the presenter speaking the story. Defining the situation, the problem and you want more. The use of stories (neuroscience) evokes emotions in us. Emotions trigger dopamine in our brains, a physiological reaction that creates ‘stickiness.’ In no way does this presentation begin with facts; this is who we are, what we sell, or who we sell. Facts rarely sell to anybody in our society. That doesn’t imply that facts aren’t important. They just have their time and place when using a presentation to pitch to your audience. Engage your audience first with emotion.
While this deck is a dedicated print or email copy deck consisting of higher word volume per page what pulls it all together is the theme. The company is not part of the auto industry, but their message is tied together by the theme of putting things in forward motion. This implies that street markings on the road, car interiors, wheels, road patterns, interchanges, and traffic signals are pulled together to connect with the message. Themes can take a topic such as a marketing optimization software tool and create a feeling when that may be otherwise difficult to create.
Everybody has a story to tell, even investment specialist who invest in banks. Just because an industry is high in numerology or technology doesn’t imply that information has to be presented on a chart or spreadsheet. We all have a neurological cliff of attention. Building a story creates emotion and activates dopamine in the brain. Whenever we are elated, sad, or angry those powerful emotions stirred dopamine. Think of how strong those feelings are in us when they occur. It makes us want to do something, which is why we are usually giving a presentation in the first place. You want the audience to do something.
You have an idea but you need capital to grow your business. It doesn’t matter if you are on the ground floor or looking for a Series C re-capitalization, your best effort will be served with a presentation. Investors are pummeled with the best opportunities and honestly after awhile, they all look the same; the right market, great innovation, weak competition and a mind blowing ROI. So knowing that everybody else is offering a similar deal, to would be investors, what should you do? Find a compelling message about what you are offering and make it ‘sticky’ in your presentation. Something the investor audience can’t shake from their mind. Case in point; did you know that in the U.S. There’s over 2 billion corn dogs sold each year? 2 Billion! That’s enough corn dogs sold each year for every person in China, The United States, Canada, Mexico, and the United Kingdom to each have a corn dog! If your pitch was year –round premium fair food like this example we know that a message like that is compelling enough to grab the attention of an investor audience and stay with them.
Your excited. You have just been given a meeting opportunity the largest player. You have always hoped for this chance. Now it’s time to present. Yikes!
If you don’t have time to build the presentation that you want and you need a crash course. Do this. Write or sketch your story – as you’d like to speak it out on paper first (not PowerPoint). Then divide your story onto PowerPoint slides. Limit each slide to no more than twenty words. This will leave a large space on the slide for a great image to help connect your message. Buy your images from a stock photo house such as Shutterstock or iStockPhoto. Then rehearse as much as you can. Go.Go.Go!
Okay, so you’re not selling fruit at a fruit stand. Your business is complex, different verticals, in different markets, with different services, and different partners, all governed by complex regulations.
You have heard the expression that a picture is worth a thousand words. Your complex business needs to be broken down visually so that the audience can digest information in small understandable pieces. That last phrase is key in understanding visuals. If the visual is just as complex as a thousand words, what’s the point?
Small understandable pieces allow us to ‘see spot run’, if you will. Once an audience can see spot run, then our minds are open to the higher complexity of those complicated corridors of our business. To understand how to develop the proper visuals, your graphic department needs to understand business models or have someone constantly in their ear guiding the custom graphic process. Achieve these principles and your unbelievably complex business becomes as clear as a crystal.
Like any piece of collateral, knowing your audience is key. Building a message tailored to that audience with consistency of brand found elsewhere in the organization is key to maintain a professional appeal and connection to your audience. Without paying attention to who your audience is and what they are generally feeling, your message runs the risk of becoming all about your services or product, failing to engage the audience with emotion that connects with them.
Raise your hand if you have been in the audience of a presentation where the presenter used an Excel spreadsheet or spreadsheet converted into a magnanimous chart? For me when I see that I cringe. Too many numbers, the numbers are too small to actually read and the presenter actually mistakes the audience for a group of people who care. In these examples you see numbers, but not numbers for the sake of numbers. Numbers need to validate a point that you want to make. Whatever that point is bring that to your slide and support that point with simple direct numbers.
We learn and retain from stories. Think back to your education and try to discern what you learned from what you memorized. Chances are what you actually learned had the basis of a story around it. What you memorized got you through an exam. So when was the battle of Hastings anyway? If you read these few slides-part of a bigger story in a presentation deck- you can start to get a feeling for the story, who is the main character (mom’s), who is the secondary characters (their kids), what is the plot (Invest in organic foods). Make your next presentation a story. By the way, the battle of Hastings was in 1066. I remembered it because my history teacher made a poem/story over three decades ago.