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So a while back I did a presentation to the office on how to do presentations.
This isn’t because I think I am very good at them, but because having done so many in my life – I know what simple things can make someone so much more effective when they do them.
That said, I’m a bit of a hypocrite given I don’t follow every rule to the letter … but as someone said, those who can’t do, teach.
I should also point out that the title of this post is misleading.
I don’t actually want to turn people into Freddie Mercury.
Not only do I have doubts he’d be that good in the boardroom, the fact is his leotards would be a bitch to wear.
That said, on the stage he was a beast.
It didn’t matter if he was performing to 200 people or 200,000, all eyes were on him and he made sure his audience always went away getting exactly what they wanted and hoped for.
And that’s what I mean by the title of the post.
Anyway, as some of the slides are in my usual ‘picture, no words’ format … I thought I should give a brief breakdown of what they mean and then after that, it should all be fairly obvious.
Unless you’re a thicko.
Remember, this is not a blueprint for how to present, it’s simply ‘8 tips’ that can make you – whatever your style – better.
That’s not just because I don’t think anyone has the right to dictate presentation standards, but because the last thing the World needs is a bunch of people all adopting the same robotic approach to what they have to say.
I hope it’s useful, even if you end up using it as tips of what NOT to do.
So here we go …
Regardless what job you do in advertising, there is one thing you will find yourself doing – whether to colleagues, bosses or clients – and that is presenting.
The word ‘presentation’ has the power to put the fear of god into people.
People think the audience will look at them like this.
Forgetting they could also look at them like this.
Mainly because they are pretty convinced they’ll look at them like this.
But the fact is, a good presentation can change everything. Meetings. Relationships. Opportunities. Careers.
A good presentation tends to require 3 things coming together:
1. A presentation that has been written with a strong, clear story – with a definitive beginning, middle and end. [Or said a better way, a clear conclusion]
2. An ability to present the story in a way that the audience finds engaging, inspiring and actionable.
3. An ability to clearly and accurately answer all questions or challenges that come your way.
[As an aside, never fear being questioned, it means people are interested and have taken the time to listen to what you have said. This is a good thing]
Today, we are going to focus on how to make sure you present your story in a way your audience will find engaging, inspiring and actionable.
This presentation will not turn you into Steve Jobs.
Nor give you the presence of Darth Vader.
Or the popularity of Oprah Winfrey.
It is simply a presentation to give you tips and tricks to be ‘the best you’.
Before we begin, there is one thing you should know about presentations.
NEVER GO INTO ONE WITH THE GOAL OF HAVING ANOTHER ONE.
Ever, ever, ever.
There are only 2 reasons you should have a presentation …
+ To conflict a client – so they make a different decision to the one they’re are going to make.
+ To convert a client – so they approve what you want them to approve.
If you are having formal presentations for any other reason, then you are wasting your time, their time and your colleagues time.
Which is why before you go into any presentation, you should ask yourself these 3 simple questions and if you can’t answer any – or if you are unable to provide the solutions for any – you’re not ready for the presentation.
But let’s get back to the point of this presentation: ‘how to be a better presenter’.
As much as Hollywood would like us to believe people can see through the mess to see the gold, sadly they can’t … and how you present often influences the response more than the idea you’re trying to convey.
This is to give an example about the point raised in the previous slide.
A long time ago, the US Air Force were holding a tender for a new fighter plane.
Over weeks, various generals sat around a big table hearing engineers explain why their plane design was best.
Eventually someone came in from [I believe] Lockheed Martin.
In true Hollywood fashion, he reached into his pocket and pulled out a marble before proceeding to roll it slowly down the table – past all these highly ranked Air Force generals.
Looking at them all, he asked …
“Who’d like a plane that registers the size of this marble on the enemies radar?”
All the generals nodded and the presenter said he would now bring in people who would show them how they could do it.
He won the pitch right there because not only did he know what the ‘client’ actually wanted, but he was able to present it to them in a way that got to the point in a way they could relate to and be excited by.
This is a slide that relates to a story Dan Wieden told the office recently. The story is irrelevant, the point is he told us something very personal and private to him and his vulnerability made us feel closer to him and more connected to him. The moral of the story is explained on the following slide.
This is a book that talks about ‘high concepting’ [which is basically how the man in the story on slide 20, approached his presentation]
The book is about Hollywood film producer Don Simpson. It’s worth buying.
Not just because it explains how he sold studios multi-million dollar film ideas in a few sentences, but because it gives you entry into the depravity of the 80’s.
Explains how Richard Branson used ‘high concepting’ to brief his Virgin Atlantic Lounge.
The story of that – and the solution to it – can be read here.
The rest of the presentation should be fairly self explanatory, though the last slide is a link to a clip from Mad Men that basically captures the best pitch you’ll ever see, using [some] of the tips I list in the presentation.
You can see that – if you haven’t seen it a million times already – at the end of this post.
Anyway, the overall purpose of this presentation isn’t just to help you feel better – and do better – in presenting, it’s to teach a skill that can help you in your career.
Good presenters – of which there are sadly very few – are always in demand.
They make things happen.
They get invited back.
They change outcomes.
That doesn’t mean they are simply ‘entertainers’ … far from it … they are people who know how to convey a story in a way that an audience wants to have more of.
They are trusted.
They are respected.
They stand out from the crowd.
Good presenters increase the odds of getting a good results and in a World that is so highly competitive, being the person who can show they have made things happen – rather than just talk about the things they wanted to make happen – is the difference between owning your career and having your career own you.
If this interests you, you may find these 2 other posts may be of use too.
I hope they help and if they don’t, sue me.
[Please don’t sue me]
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