To understand the problem with the traditional presentation, we must first understand what are its characteristics, so as to realize why SOAP doesn’t recommend using a traditional presentation at all, ever.
Traditional presentations usually make the following mistakes:
1. Copy Paste
When we create a PowerPoint presentation, what is the first thing we do? We open a new PowerPoint file, and at the same time we probably open our old presentations, right? And then we start to recycle – that is, copy and paste slides from the old into the new.
But what happens when we use slides from old presentations? Well, instead of creating a fresh story that will capture the attention of an audience and convey the message we intend, we end up with a sequence of disconnected facts and information that’s just plain not interesting, if not also confusing.
2. Bullet Points
The problem is not the bullet-point itself but rather the way we use it. Normally, we use too many bullet points per slide, and each usually has too much information, too much text, and so we end up with boring slides that are hard to read from a distance.
3. Details in PowerPoint
You know that feeling you’ve had a lot? “I really need to insert this detail into the presentation, because without it the audience won’t get what I’m talking about.”
And so we insert detailed maps or complex charts full of numbers that serve only to confuse the audience, and we end up not transmitting any relevant message at all.
Also, sometimes we think that what’s very important to us is also very important to our audience. But in most cases this isn’t true. The fact is that when planning an important presentation, one of the greatest talents none can have is to be able to think like the audience.
So, instead of speaking about our competitive advantages, for example, we should talk about how these competitive advantages can improve the lives of the audience.
Here’s another example: a multinational makes this statement: “We have offices in 72 countries, and we have 50,000 employees in these offices.” But why should an audience care? How do such statistics impact the lives of the audience? Put it that way and you can probably see that such a statement has no impact whatsoever on the life of the listener, and so it just isn’t relevant information.
But how about this: “My team has 20 people, and of these 20, three are going to be at your disposal any time you need somebody. And if we have to, we can contact one of our 50,000 employees in one of the 72 countries where we operate to find the best solution there is to help you.” This way, can you see that the same message has to have a totally different impact on the audience?
4. Too Many Adjectives
Adjectives have much more impact when they are perceived rather than announced. For example: instead of announcing that you’re efficient, show examples of your efficiency. This will have a more profound impact on the audience.
Most people know this. Show, don’t tell, right? Nevertheless, when we have little time to plan a presentation, we tend to throw adjectives around to describe us, our product, our project. But what if we were to invest some time in coming up with examples that demonstrate the added value of what we want to “sell?” The impact would be totally different, right?
Typically, in traditional presentations the presenter focuses his/her attention on the screen instead of on the audience. This happens because the presenter in most cases isn’t well prepared and so needs to read from the screen to be able to do the presentation. But this old-fashioned technique, still used by so many, turns a presentation into an exercise of collective reading. And when a presenter is reading from the screen, what happens? The presenter fails to pay attention to the audience and stops making eye contact. The connection is now between the presenter and the screen, instead of being between the presenter and the audience. And, believe us, without the connection of the presenter, the audience quickly loses interest.
And so, to deal with all of this we recommend that you abandon the traditional way of making PowerPoint presentations and try new things. In our blog you’ll find weekly tips and important information that will help you create and deliver high-impact presentations using simple but effective techniques.
Remember, as Einstein used to say: if you want to get different results, you’re going to have to use different methods.