PowerPoint – How to present and convince your audience!

  • Do you want to improve your results when presenting in PowerPoint?
  • Do you want to know how to structure and know where to put the facts?

Disney Creative Strategy PPT

This is what I find valuable. It is based on teachings from TED talk speakers, a method from Capgemini consulting and what I’ve learnt over the years.

In general people relate to:

  • Emotions and feelings first
  • Reasoning second

The audience is both Left brain(logical) and Right brain(artistic). To support left brain, use facts, sign posts and reason. To support the right part of your brain you should be human, show emotions and paint a mental picture while presenting. You should address both the left and the right side in your speech but try to balance it based on your preferred style and type of audience.

We are not born with the ability to speak in front of a crowd. My friend Roger is a living proof. He used to fear standing in front of people, but after practicing a lot he is now world-famous.

There are three types of presentations aimed to

  1. Give information and educate
  2. Persuade the audience by reasoning
  3. Make them take action

Use the strength of storytelling. Stories gives authority to you and your speech. Combine it with giving insights to the audience. Remember “Authority * Insights = Results”.

The coming 7 bullet points will give you a structure of the presentation and guidance.

  1. GET THEM HOOKED IN THE BEGINNING

There are several ways to get them hooked:

  • Give a strong contrast between good and bad, black and white, misery and abundance.
  • Create a mental picture
  • Visionary i.e. “I have a dream”, “One man on the moon before the end of the decade”

People love this. It makes their minds drift away. So remember to take a short pause, because they often don’t listen for 10 seconds afterwards.

  1. SUPPORT YOUR ASSERTIONS WITH
  • Facts combined with your knowledge and experience of the material
  • Reference cases or stories to show you have the authority to present
  1. TELL A GOOD STORY
    Story telling has become very popular and there are many YouTube videos if you like to learn more. Be authentic. Try to give warm feeling and make friends with your audience.
  2. GIVE INSIGHTS; INSIGHTS AND INSIGHTS
    People want to get insights and this is why they wanted you to come and present to them in the first place.
  3. LEAVE THEM IN NO DOUBT
    Have a clear message in the end. Ambivalence and questions is not useful at this stage. Use a strong and clear ending. Plan the end in detail and practice presenting it.

Additional comments:

  • Use no more than 7 slides if you want to persuade and make them take action.
  • Remember to adjust the message to the personality types. You can use these short descriptions. Top-management are often impatient and quick to decide from their first impression, finance people wants deep detailed knowledge, facts and details to lower the risk, marketing and sales wants visionary ideas, use future oriented mental pictures when speaking.
  1. GUIDING TRICKS
  • Sketch the slides on paper at first. Put them on a wall to make a straw man to be able to see the whole picture and to adjust the content and order.
  • Get input from others that you trust. In particular, get a fresh pair of eyes to check the details especially if it contains numbers!

Start with a summary with max 3 bullet points of the results/actions. Describe the structure of the presentation so that they know what to expect. Ask “Is this what you expected?” The summary is used for all quick, impatient and intelligent readers who will decide early. The summary is also useful when browsing and reading PowerPoints afterwards.

Questions and comments are welcomed after the summary. Try to give a short answer to them and not to make them uncomfortable by saying “Wait until the coming slides!” as many do. They want to show off and present the coming slides which they’ve put a lot of effort into, but if you can give them answers directly in dialogue with them you will easier get the results you want. People want dialogue. If you want you can ask them a question that will buy time and the person speaking maybe wants to make an impression by saying something clever. Let them. You will often get empathy from the crowd when someone is doing that.

Use the HEADLINES to decide on and tell the story and put them in the heading of the straw man slides on paper. Use complete sentences with a verb – no more than 2 lines long.

Remember to focus on what to say and how to stand and walk the first minutes to give a good first impression that strengthens your authority and makes them trust in you.

As a preparation some speakers prefer to meet and talk to the audience and get to understand them and adjust the focus of the speech. Other presenters want to be alone before entering the stage.

Remember who you’re talking to. It is not about you. It is about them. A TED speaker I know who was the first to be present this presentations told me he is repeating “for them, for them, for them” in his head when entering the stage. He always enters from the left and his first minute is prepared in detail.

  1. THE FINAL

Prepare a well thought strong ending and learn it word by word. Rehearse in front of an audience. Practicing and your knowledge of the material is crucial. Invite people to ask questions after you’ve gotten applauses.

People remember the start, the end and one or two surprises during the speech, stories or jokes for example. When researchers have asked them the following days people seldom remember more than these three parts.

It is not as difficult as it looks. Remember repeating is the mother of all learning! End with a clear statement.

Use this and you will be able to do great presentations, base it on a well-tested and proven structure and get much better results! Good Luck!


See also:

How to start a speech!

A comic Life after death by PowerPoint

Life after PowerPoint from TechCrunch”Prezi Is the Coolest Online Presentation Tool I’ve Ever Seen!”