I have sat through more boring business presentations than I can count. With the new normal of virtual meetings it is just getting worse.

As you stare into your screen for the 8th hour of the day and see a smattering of text and charts your eyes begin to water and go blurry. You struggle to stay awake and start to daydream about when this meeting is going to end. After the 25th slide the presentation closes with them asking for your support and approval, which shocks you out of your slumber like the ice bucket challenge.

It doesn’t have to be this way. In fact, it can be fun to watch an engaging presentation and you may even lean in when you hear the magic words, “let me tell you a story.”

It is so rare see this however, that you when you receive a great presentation you are left with an impression that sticks in your mind regardless of your position on the topic. 

Now this is not some mythical recipe or some crazy process for only the best salespeople. In fact, it is a simple process and recipe. It takes a bit of practice, but anyone can do it. 

There are some key elements to a great presentation. You can master them in minutes if you follow the recipe below. I have used this process for years and try to train anyone who will listen to do so as well. 

The first thing you need to do is throw away your current slides. I mean it, save them in a folder and don’t come back to them until you are sure you need a specific one. 

Never start building your presentation from past slide decks. Why? Because you get trapped in past thoughts. It is so easy to grab a slide that you like and then another, and another, until you have a Frankenstein presentation that doesn’t even speak to the current audience. In the end, you will end up with a cluttered collection of thoughts instead of a cohesive masterpiece that will have everyone clambering to throw their wallets at you.

The second element to your presentation is  a key story or several stories. If you are trying to get someone to care you need to evoke an emotion. Humans don’t get emotional about facts and figures. We get emotional and moved by individual human experiences. Tell us a story and our minds instantly go through the process visually.

We begin to imagine the story much like a movie playing in our heads. That means you need to tell a story that illustrate your points. 

Instead of falling into the Venus slide trap (that was a great pun and I am proud of it), you want to create a simple bullet point list of your talking points. This will help you easily edit your ideas and see obvious breaks in flow. Each bullet should have one key thought and any associated thoughts should be a sub-bullet (indented bullet point). 

Once you have a list of bullets for your ideas, go back through the list and think of any experiences that illustrate them. Try to think of ones where there is extreme pain or struggle. The more emotional the better. When you tell this story I want you to pretend you are telling it to a group of friends, not some business people in suits.

Show photos and tell stories don’t drown them in 12 point font. A great presentation creates a visual narrative in the listeners mind. 

You want them to remember your stories when they walk out of the room. So give them a visual and tell them the story to imagine as they see it.
At worst it is entertaining and at best it is your ticket to success. Have you ever dreamt about a pie chart or list of 10 bullet points? Of course not. 

You don’t commit facts and figures to memory because your brain didn’t experience them. It saw them, but it didn’t feel them. 

If you can implement these steps of the process into your next presentation you will leave an impression, get your request answered, and be more effective. The happy byproduct of this is that people will also see you as more confident, effective, and like able. 

What are your best tips? Message me and share.