How many times have you had to endure presentations that start by answering these questions:
- What is our mission?
- What is our vision?
- What are our values?
- Who are we?
Yes, we know; you’ve probably had to suffer through quite a few of these. In fact, starting a business presentation with such plain, unvarnished data is the biggest cliché going.
So if you start like this, don’t be surprised if your audience’s attention starts to wander.
If your listeners start looking at clocks, watches and windows, you can be sure you’ve pretty much already lost them. That ship has sailed.
Why, then, do companies use this presentation template so much? Over time we’ve pinpointed some reasons for it:
1. Inadequate presentation development time
2. A kind of corporate pride that doesn’t value others an awful lot
3. Ease of re-using past presentations (just click, copy and paste)
4. Lack of a better reference point
But because most companies present this way, their audiences can rarely spot the differences between them. You have a unique product or service or a strategic announcement? Well, good luck in getting that across!
How, then, can you avoid the cliché, the boredom, the wandering audience eye?
It’s simple, really. A business presentation has to tell a story to be interesting. A story that resonates with the audience. A story in which the audience can see itself. Most importantly, the story needs to be clear as to how this information can help solve a listener’s problem.
The way you tell your story must also be congruent with what you expect to achieve with your presentation. For this to happen, your presentation must always have a clearly defined goal. And to establish this goal, you’re going to have to ask yourself what you want your audience to think, feel and do after the presentation is over.
Bottom line? Think your presentations through; prepare yourself to be an engaging presenter; and tell a story that grabs the audience’s heart and mind from the opening words with a story and message that are as unique as your company is. For sure, if you present this way you won’t ever have to tell an audience about your values and your mission — before you’re through, they will know.
Finally, to create a provocative presentation you need to question the traditional slide sequence used by most companies, since it’s usually a sure-fire recipe for audience disengagement.
So: dare to be different and unconventional, and your audience will sit up and take notice.