How many times did you get to deliver a presentation with an amazing summary and punchline that came short in creating the effect you wanted to have?
See Corinne Sutter, this speed painter, doing her gig and how she almost lost her ticket in to the Switzerland Got Talent show:
Part of the job for many of us involves presentations and those can come in various flavors. It can be of describing new ideas and initiatives for peers and managers, or instructional presentations for colleagues and customers, and of course sales presentation.
In most cases the attention of the crowed is limited and the more we stretch the limit of that span of attention the more likely we may lose most of the audience as the presentation progresses. This may result in a weaker buy-in for our ideas, or in reduced level of understanding of the concepts we try to convey, or simply failing to make that sell.
I, myself, am quite a logical person, thinking most of the time in a linear way. And for quite a long time, when I was asked to deliver a presentation I tried to take the audience through that linear path from Point A to the inevitable Point Z. I always thought that the people I talk to will have a better understanding of my idea\solution\business value if I will be able to first create a proper foundation of knowledge.
They will follow if they know where you are heading
As logical as this may sound, this form of a presentation will usually be less successful. People want to know where you are going, and where you are taking them. If the end point remains uncertain and illusive for a lengthy period of time (and that can be 30 seconds in an elevator pitch or 10 minutes in a key note session) the audience will become very uncomfortable, tired and sometimes even frustrated. In Corrine case above it took 1 minute and a half to be deemed as too long and boring.
This one goes under “Don’ts”
Keep the best for Start – Your bottom line must be placed on top. It would be best to engage your audience with your eventual goal close to the start and only later show the proofs and foundations to support your goal or idea.
Spill the beans right from the start
Do note that from storytelling perspective you can make your supporting arguments that follow your bottom line to be as engaging and exciting as the revelation of your eventual idea – that would be a good idea for another post.