Inspired by geniuses like Steve Jobs and Seth Godin — and armed with new insights about the way we communicate — business leaders are stepping up to the podium and shaking up their presentations. Finally, the days of bullet points and clip art may be numbered. And now, it’s easier than ever for you and your brand to join the ranks of engaging and effective storytellers.
Here’s how to get out of a rut, kick things up a notch, and create a more powerful presentation.
Experts say that for an hour-long presentation, you could expect to put in as much as 30 hours of research and writing, 30 hours of building the document, and another 30 hours of rehearsal. Whether or not you’re ready to commit that kind of time, the fact remains that preparation is key. Best of all, it can actually go a long way toward diminishing fear and anticipation. You’ll be tired, but you’ll be ready — and that preparedness will help ensure the response you want.
Before you open your favorite presentation software and start making slides, reach for a pen and a piece of paper and start making notes. By setting aside some time to think, write and create, you’ll find yourself more open to ideas — and you’ll avoid defaulting to clichés and shortcuts in a last-minute rush to “get it done.” Most important, you’ll start to find the story that can give your content purpose and direction.
Tell a story
Today’s most persuasive presenters favor a classic story arc — with a setup, a confrontation and a resolution — over a journalistic approach (Who, What, How, Why). Take your audience on a journey with a beginning, a middle and an ending — and avoid the common pitfall of “building up” to the good stuff. Instead, go for the emotional appeal first. Start with what matters to the audience. Once they’re hooked, you can cover the particulars.
Choose your words
Writing in “Plain English” means cutting the jargon and making things conversational. It also means shifting the focus away from facts and features and toward emotional benefits. To sell the iPod, Steve Jobs didn’t dwell on its 16GB of memory. Instead, he described it as, “a thousand songs in your pocket.”
Use more pictures
As much as we like to hear ourselves write, images are far more powerful when it comes to emotional impact and retention. Condense your points to as few words as possible — and then choose images that express those ideas even quicker.
Forecast the future
Once you’ve drawn in your audience with an emotional hook, make sure you make the payoff worth their while. Show them a “perfect world” — and then show them how to get there. Talk about your brand or your idea as the solution that helps people get where they want to go.
Talking about a revolution
If you’re ready to rethink your brand’s story and messaging, the good news is that it can start with the next presentation. It just takes a little planning and preparation. It takes anticipating your audience and knowing what matters to them. In short, it takes good thinking. Fortunately, MasonBaronet helps all kinds of people and brands rethink, refresh and re-invent the way they show up. Let’s talk about your story — and let’s start something big for your brand.