Once upon a time
What do we all remember – not just for a few weeks – but for all of our lives? Percentages? Trends? Statistics? Nope.
We remember stories.
Stories are ‘sticky’, they conjure up imagery and ideas. They promote concepts and they teach lessons. Stories are fun and enjoyable – they have a beginning, they continue with a middle and everyone NEEDS to hear the end. Stories or Anecdotes are what turn a dry presentation into a memorable experience.
When you step onto that stage – make it your objective to find the stories that illustrate your points, that drive an action or that inspire ideas.
From now on, always tell them colorful stories instead of grey statistics.
When a presentation becomes a conversation – you win…
So often, when challenged with delivering a presentation – people in all industries start with a slide deck made up of words and words and words – a couple of “felt-like-a-good-idea-at-the-time” transitions and one or two stock photos of people shaking hands and smiling or smiling and shaking hands.
STOP IT!! Please stop it!
No one – not one person will thank you for slides filled with words. Not a single audience member will track you down in the coffee break and say to you “I just wished you had crammed even more words onto those slides”.
Deliver a conversation, not a presentation. Talk to your audience like you would talk to friends or colleagues. Use phrases like:
“So, anyway, last week, I met up with a customer….”
“Can you imagine such a moment – what would you have done?”
“I look at something like this and it makes me a little frightened.”
Show the audience who you are, not just as a presenter, but as a person. Share your thoughts, ideas and feelings. Make an emotional connection and they will remember all of your points.
Give them the gift of time
(and more of an opportunity to discuss your ideas)
Whether it’s a pitch in front of just a few people or a keynote delivered to thousands – everyone has an expectation of how long you are going to be “on”. Always end a touch early. Think of the last time you were in a conference audience and the session ended a few minutes early – how delighted were you?? More time for coffee, for networking, for discussing thoughts. No downside!
Now recall when the speaker went over by ten minutes – now you’re checking your watch, time is limited, you had a call to make…your life is ruined! – no upside to this!
When you do end early I will guarantee you this – not one audience member will track you down in the break and say “I wish you had gone on for a lot longer”.
Give people the gift of time and they will always thank you and welcome you back for future opportunities to present your ideas.
So – from now on, when presented with a chance to speak in front of anyone: Tell stories, be conversational and end just a little early!!