Brad Bowler had been here before.
He stared at the bright screen. The beginnings of a PowerPoint slide deck.
Trying to inspire his staff about the upcoming financial year.
A lame attempt to motivate them.
To get them excited about turning business around and kicking sales goals over the next 12 months.
As Brad contemplated what to say he thought back on the last 3 years he’d been in charge of this department.
Every one of those yearly kick-off meetings had been a shambles.
He had presented with the usual charts and graphs.
The usual motivational speeches.
The usual “We have to change” slogans.
And every time he got the same results.
A room of emotionless stares, from a disinterested team who would much rather be watching grass grow than listen to Brad talk about grand plans for the coming year.
Brad made his resolution. Things needed to change. Another year of bad results was not an option for an already tanking business.
Have you been here before?
Perhaps in Brad’s position, maybe in the audience’s.
If you’ve been presenter it can be really hard to motivate an audience with your stock-standard patter and slide deck.
If you’ve been in the audience it can be difficult to maintain your attention while you’re thinking about a million other work and personal matters.
Here are 3 presentation hacks you can use to turn things around for yourself and your audience.
1. Get inside the head of your audience
Ever been in a presentation where the speaker was wrong?
Or was missing the full picture?
Ever tried to help the speaker, or point out missing information, and been shut down?
Ever wondered why the presenter is talking about boring details that mean nothing to you or the rest of the audience?
If you have experienced this kind of thing you know you have to do something differently when it’s your turn to deliver a presentation.
Here’s what you need to do:
When preparing, get inside the head of your audience.
Think about the presentation topic from their perspective.
What do they want to know?
What do they need to know?
What do they care about?
What are they likely to challenge or be concerned about?
By thinking about these questions you will be better able to frame your presentation for your audience.
You’ll also be better prepared when they ask questions or challenge you.
2. Develop your “click bait”
Click bait has a bad rap.
It’s got a bad rap because of over-promising headlines covering up content-less articles and blog posts.
You can use click bait in your presentation to great effect (provided you deliver the goods).
Think about click bait as the headline for your presentation. The first thing you say to draw your audience in to your presentation.
You could start your presentation with:
“Good morning, thank you for coming to our kick-off meeting.”
But that would kind of suck, and set the tone for more boredom to follow.
Instead you could try something like:
“Let’s look at our 3-point plan to lose money this year.”
That will get everyone’s attention!
Of course, we don’t want to lose money, but somewhere in your presentation you’ll introduce the real plan to make money.
Remember that you can’t just say something as a headline and not address it in your presentation. If you don’t address your headline your audience will feel frustrated and robbed of their time.
3. Connect with your audience
Use your research from hack #1.
Use the research to identify how you will connect with your audience.
Perhaps the connection will be empathizing with some of their concerns.
Maybe the connection will be getting them involved in discussion about the topic at hand.
It could be talking about how your plans will improve their lives somehow.
Yearly kick-off speech, before:
“Good morning everyone, thank you for being here. Today I’d like to run through our plans and goals for the coming year. As you know, we didn’t do so well last year so we need to focus on business recovery actions hard in the coming months. I’ve got about an hour today and there’s a lot to get through so please save your questions until the end or shoot me an email later on. Let’s start by focusing on everyone’s new responsibilities…”
Boring, boring, BORING!
Yearly kick-off speech, after:
“I have a confession to make. My presentation at last year’s kick-off was atrocious. I want to make amends. This year I want to hear from you. We have a list of actions we need to take this year, and I want your help to prioritize them. You all know the business well and know what actions are likely to have the biggest impact. Let’s discuss these together.”
Engaging. Connecting. Likely to get buy-in.
What do you think?
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