Looking for ways to step up the impact of your next business presentation?
Here are some simple, yet highly effective tips and techniques to help you deliver a presentation that could well give the audience a thrill.
I’ve covered off the importance of passion in my blog Why Communicating Your Passion Is Sooooo Persuasive. What you’re passionate about should be at the very heart of what you have to say, but you need more. And, what’s more, you can gain more traction by communicating your passion via telling a story.
Presentation Skills That Make A Dramatic Difference
Tell a story, but make it dramatic
You can’t tell just any story. You need a story built upon the three dramatic acts that deliver not a ‘chiller,’ but a ‘thriller’ of a presentation.
Whatever you do, don’t fall for the trap of believing that having a beginning, a middle and an end is telling a good story.
A structure like that is not good enough to grab and hold the attention of an audience that, especially these days has a very short attention span.
Well, it’s less than a goldfish i.e. 9 seconds. Research conducted by Microsoft Canada in 2014 showed that people, on average, have an attention span of 8 seconds! You can check out Time Magazine’s review here: http://time.com/3858309/attention-spans-goldfish/
The point is this: if they’re not paying attention, they’re not listening. And, if they’re not listening, then you can’t be communicating with them. That’s an impossibility. But a dramatic story will get them paying attention, listening and responding.
So, let’s now look at the three essential acts that deliver a good yarn.
Act One: Introduce conflict into your setup
Everyone loves a story that begins with the antagonist entering the scene a.k.a. the ‘bad guy.’ In drama, right up front, you need some conflict. Because, where there’s conflict, there’s a problem to solve. And that hooks the audience in, and they stay tuned in, because they want to know the outcome.
It’s story-telling 101, but many business presenters fail to introduce some conflict. This can be out of ignorance or because they have a mistaken belief that you must keep everything positive, otherwise you’ll worry the troops: and we don’t want that, do we?
There are many different possible conflicts like falling sales, declining market share, reducing profit margins, non-compliance with a raft of regulations or a new competitor entering the market. They exist, the point is to acknowledge them and get people a little anxious, too. (That gets and maintains their attention)
However, what happens if everything is looking good?
Well, there’s a dark lining to every silver cloud and you just have to find it. For instance, you may have had a record sales year and you can acknowledge that, but then the antagonist could be fear of complacency creeping in, or the team is tired and feels inclined to rest a bit. It could be that competitors have lifted their game and have new products or lower prices or new sales agents. And, they are going to try and eat your company’s lunch.
In summary, just remember that in your story, right up front, you need an antagonist: some sort of problem or trouble to solve. Then you can be the hero!
Act Three: Enter The Hero
The hero (The protagonist) enters the story (It might be you, or you and your team) and embarks upon a journey to resolve the problem. You can cover off the difficulties encountered in finding a solution to the problem. You can talk about the options explored and the wrong turns taken. What you’re doing is painting a dramatic picture of the journey undertaken to get to the Promised Land.
And then….and then, you tell of the ‘ah-hah’ moment – the insight that allowed the problem’s solution to be identified. This is followed by ‘what actually changed’ that overcame the problem.
This section of your presentation could be short or long provided you keep things interesting. But what you need to do is spend enough time to convince the audience that you worked hard on finding not just any solution, but the right solution!
When you do this your level of persuasion ramps up by more than a few notches.
Act Three: The resolution
This is where the climax of your presentation occurs and it’s when the main tensions of the story are brought to their most intense point and the dramatic question answered.
This is where you define the solution, what happens next, what people need to do and, most importantly, what’s in it for those in the audience.
Never forget to include the key message for the audience to ‘take-away’ – something that would benefit them! Then they will think you’re a hero.
If you develop your presentation as I’ve outlined, then you will have a sound structure to work with, and it could even take you less time to prepare. After all, you can waste a lot of time wandering round all over the place trying to figure out how your presentation will flow.
But, more importantly, you will effectively engage the audience, keep their attention and be more effective in persuading them to support what you have to offer.
Other Tips & Techniques
If you want to become a more engaging, more persuasive and more inspiring communicator then CLICK to explore the following:
- Why Communicating Your Passion Is Sooooo Persuasive
- How To Avoid Bad Body Language Killing Your Message
Skills Development Workshops
Over to you!
Neil K Ross
CEO Groupe Amplify