This issue’s post
Every time you open your mouth….
- Presentations are not defined by formal aspects…
- …nor by the size of the audience.
If there’s one comment we often hear, whether during or at the end of our training courses, it is this: “I don’t make a lot of presentations”, or “Presenting is not central to my job”…
For these people, a presentation is something you give to a large audience, or a crowd you wish to win over…
Yet, making a presentation does not necessarily imply that the speaker stands alone before many. Making a presentation does not necessarily imply a career-defining moment, requiring weeks of preparation… Presenting can be done one-to-one, in the most relaxed, impromptu way possible.
So we have a saying at Najberg Milne that goes: we make presentations every time we open our mouths!
Every time we debate or defend our position in a meeting room, discuss our views with a friend or colleague at lunchtime, argue with our partner, we are actually making a presentation!
Most of the important decisions in our lives were made after presentations. Presentations as trivial and ordinary as the ones you make to colleagues over a cup of coffee. Most of the professional decisions we are called upon to make will also be made after presentations.
Presentations, namely standing or sitting before an audience with the aim of influencing it, even when it is made up of only one person, are recurring and key moments in our lives.
The question is: how effective are we when it is our turn to speak? How sure can we be that every presentation we make, whether we’re aware of presenting or not, is a success?
It happened to them first
What will they remember?
- Talking is not enough: they need to remember.
- And raw information is not going to help them to.
When we choose to present information to an audience, we need to ask the questions: how much of it will they remember? Indeed, what precisely will they remember?
Out of everything we’re going to say, what will remain in a few days?
What will they recall in three weeks’ time? In a month, two months, a year?
The truth is, they won’t remember anything. Exactly, precisely, absolutely: NOTHING.
We talk, sometimes for hours, and the result is that in the end they will not remember what we said. And all the laws, rules, analyses on the potential for attention of an average audience can do nothing about it! Human beings forget information because they have no way of memorizing it in the short, medium or long term. Our brains are simply not cut out for it.
Does that mean it would be better to say nothing?
No, it means that while they won’t remember what you said, that is, all the information you are going to give, they will remember how you made them feel. They will remember the experience you gave them: everything they felt while listening to you. Our brains are wired for that because feelings were all we had for millions of years of evolution.
For memorable presentations, talk to their emotions!
What’s in it for you?
POSTERS! BIG POSTERS!
- A slide is not an aide-mémoire, filled with content.
- Its job is to convey instant meaning and impact.
To do it right, you should treat slides like 4×3 advertising posters.
How many words on a poster? Rarely more than a dozen!
How many ideas, concepts? Just one!
Is there a clear and visible objective when using this type of poster? Yes, of course! It’s expensive and one has to get one’s money back…. The objective can be to make us want to go to a store, buy a product, imagine ourselves in possession of this product…
If slides had the same impact as posters, with the same economy of words, ideas, concept and objective clearly displayed, and if there was a sequence of 20 or 30 of such slides… then it would give a real boost to the presentations we have to attend!
Now imagine that the 4×3 posters we see in the subway or on the side of our roads were like most of the slides or visual aids we are used to see during presentations? What would happen? Wholesale bankruptcy!
Too much information, unreadable in one go, not grasped, not compelling, not bought….
Now imagine on a 4×3 poster everything you could ever know about a given product. A day cream, for instance, and on the poster: its composition, instructions for use, packaging, its history, its benefits, the biographies of the team that created it, etc… There is no way that such a poster would produce any results, because the brains of those who’d go past it would immediately be saturated and they’d move away rather than read it…
Advertisers know what it takes to access our brains to sell. Why not take inspiration from their methods?
Najberg Milne news
Forthcoming open courses in London, Brussels and Paris
- London: 11 & 12 Sept., 27 & 28 Nov. 2019 (Winning Hearts and Minds). Please contact us in London at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Brussels: more course dates coming soon (Captiver & Convaincre). Please contact us in Brussels at: email@example.com.
- Paris: more course dates coming soon (Captiver & Convaincre). Please contact us in Paris at: firstname.lastname@example.org.