How to Give a More Effective Presentation
By Ryan Estis
I was sitting in the front row, anticipating the start of the sales kick-off meeting. In 45 minutes, the stage would be mine. I was following the CEO’s opening remarks.
“We have a problem. We don’t have enough sales. We are capable of more.”
That was an aggressive start, and the CEO never slowed down. His sales organization was coming off a year of significant growth, and he was issuing a very direct challenge. Forty-five minutes of challenge later, the CEO completely missed his opportunity to congratulate, connect, engage and set the stage for a powerful few days of learning and development. I doubt he was even aware how he came off to his audience — aggressive and harsh.
I see a lot of CEO presentations when I’m in the on deck circle. A few weeks ago, following a compelling kick-off presentation, one executive asked me to offer some feedback.
“You do this for a living. What are a few things I could do to deliver more effective presentations?”
Our conversation turned into a coaching session. In that session we walked through four areas of opportunity. The focus was customized for this executive, but if you’re ever giving a presentation (and you’re likely giving “presentations” daily as you try to persuade and influence), here are a few keys to keep in mind.
4 Keys to a More Effective Presentation
Prepare To Win
How many hours do you spend preparing? My question perplexed the CEO slightly because the investment of “hours” didn’t fit with his schedule. When we analyzed the potential ROI of standing in front of his own sales organization one time a year, he recognized the moment deserved a bigger investment of his own time and thinking.
This isn’t work that gets delegated. So, we practiced how to practice. The key is to practice exactly like you want to present. I prefer to work from a script but I don’t memorize it word for word. I’m not an actor. I’m trying to make an authentic connection by being the best version of myself.
I know my content and the context of the situation cold, but no two presentations are ever the same. I engage the audience, ask questions, prompt participation and will course-correct if the situation requires it. That ability comes through disciplined preparation. If you want to know exactly how I prepare for every presentation, you can check out this post: Prepare to Win or Prepare To Discount.
Tell A Story
“After a presentation, 65 percent of attendees remember stories. Only 5 percent remember statistics.” Source: Chip & Dan Heath.
I spent two years and a lot of money conducting statistically valid proprietary research. But tomorrow, nobody is going to recall any of the data. That hurts but it’s simply how the human brain functions.
People remember the story. Stories inspire us and help us invest in an idea more completely. They create an emotional connection that goes beyond a data set. They compel us to take action. Stories are the most powerful form of persuasive communication, Go to the full article.