Does the thought of sitting through another presentation cause you to start yawning? And does the thought of watching your audience yawn or fidget throughout your presentation make you dread creating a new one? I thought so. We have all been on both sides of the podium and have t-shirts to prove it. Well, it’s time to stop whatever you have been doing and think about some better ideas.
It seems that Hubspot has the same idea. Corey Eridon wrote an article in April 2013 called How to Deliver Presentations That Are Awe-Inspiring, Not Yawn-Inducing that really hit all the high notes. Corey had gone to a conference; and, of course, that’s where you sit through endless presentations. But this was given by Michael Stelzner’s Social Media Marketing World, where there were some of the best of the best presenters.
You don’t have to give presentations to thousands, you don’t have to be in marketing, you don’t have to be the best of the best; but no doubt you will give presentations one time or another. So I am going to give you a few pointers, some of which will be compliments of Corey and other will be from other great articles, an infographic and personal experience.
First, why are you giving this presentation?
Presentations in person and online are good marketing tactics. A new survey of B2B marketers shows that online marketing presentations are now part of the top ten content marketing techniques—used more often than webinars, webcasts, infographics, research reports, ebooks and more. So your first response to why give a presentation is that presentations, especially online ones, are a good way to market your product or service.
But do you think you are going to sell your product using presentations? Forget about it. A presentation is like a blog article—inform, educate and entertain. Did I say anything about selling? No. No one wants to sit through a presentation or watch Slideshare Presentation all about how wonderful your product is, how it will stop falling hair, cure halitosis and enhance your manhood. Well, that might be the exception.
(So you can disregard that part on the infographic. I didn't try to fix it.)
Content Marketing: Presentations in Your Pajamas author Andrew Schulkind wrote November 2013 as much:
Forget about selling and concentrate on educating. That’s the way to grab your audience’s attention and create the trust that gets you invited to create a conversation with them. Address their needs, share your experience and knowledge, make it worthwhile for them to give your their attention for a few precious minutes.
Have no illusions – this is no magic bullet. “Post it and they will come” isn’t any more true here than it is on your website. . .
So we know that we are not trying to sell our product or service. We want to inform, educate and entertain. The reason to fulfill these requirements is to develop a relationship with the audience, one based on trust and communication.
What are some ways to create this relationship?
Corey Eridon talks about some ways to do this. Her first suggestion is to get personal with your audience. Notice I said your audience, but I should have said your guests. If you see these people as your guests, you are going to try very hard to make them comfortable. Tell them a little about yourself, tell a short introductory story about yourself that they can relate to; and, if you are very brave, share something private. I know that is harder for the guys than the women, but it is a good strategy. If you want, tell a story about a pet. Everyone loves a good pet story.
Then Corey says something about these guests of yours that struck me as very helpful:
Remember, the audience is on your team. They want you to succeed. Just think back to any presentation where the speaker bombed, and you'll remember how painful and awkward that was to see. If you're willing to get a little personal with your audience, they'll give a little, too, helping you succeed by being engaged in your presentation, and receptive to your points.
Just as you want people that present to you to succeed, your guest audience wants the same for you.
Tell me a story
That story idea is huge. When I tell about the time I was giving a presentation and the slides were out of order or the person working the computer moved to the next slide before I was finished, everyone who has ever done presentations knows exactly how that feels and how they worry about it in advance whether it happens or not. Plus, we all wonder what to say when it happens.
I am not talking about the kinds of stories about how you were a major headhunter for a major headhunting business and you got some of the rich and famous those rich and famous jobs. No, that is not the kind of story telling I have in mind. If you talk about you, you, you, I promise you people will tune you right out. But share stories about a person you worked with who began using Slideshare and the fantastic results. It is a known fact that people are going to remember the stories you tell more than any other part of your presentation.
While you are at it, be funny. Corey says that even a so-so presentation with jokes is better than one without, because as she states:
But adding a sense of levity can make even mediocre presentations far more enjoyable -- probably because it really does show a willingness to be open and personable. And those are hugely likeable qualities.
Just the facts—No, thanks
I don’t care how good a teacher you are, the presentation can’t be all about the facts. Even with the idea that online presentations are in the top 10 marketing tools I only gave you one fact, not an overwhelming load of them. What you want to do is work on getting your guests fired up about what you are talking about. Give them a few top notch takeaways and some tactics they can use immediately to see results. They should leave your presentation raring to go. If you have over-burdened them with statistics, infographics that were too small to read or multiple forecasts of rain in various cities in California, they are going to leave empty handed and addlepated.
- Know why you are giving the presentation and have the right reason.
- Realize you want your audience to develop a relationship with you.
- Feel the fact that the audience wants you to succeed.
- Tell stories that people will remember, using humor when you can.
- Do not over-do the educating to the deficit of the informing and entertaining.
Below is an infographic that might give you a start. It was produced by skillstudio.
What would you like to add as ways to make presentations more presentable?
Jaco Grobbelaar is the owner of BroadVision Marketing. BroadVision Marketing works with business owners to put in place inbound and outbound marketing strategies that consistently secure new clients. The BroadVision Marketing Training Center is located in Petaluma, CA and primarily serves companies in the San Francisco Bay area.
Jaco can be reached at email@example.com or 707.766.9778 or connect with Jaco on Facebook - www.facebook.com/broadvisionmarketing - and LinkedIn - www.linkedin.com/in/JacoGrobbelaar. He can also be found at Jaco+.