When you're delivering a presentation, you might be tempted to look down at your notes or stare at the back wall. However, if you want your idea to stick, we recommend you look into one very specific place during your presentation: the eyes of your audience members.
If you find yourself presenting often, you're not alone. Microsoft estimates 30 million presentations are created every day. THIRTY. MILLION. If that many are created each day, how many will ultimately be delivered within your organization?
Many of our clients ask us for shortcuts to improving their presentation presence. We're going to get real with you here: not happening. When it comes to learning how to be a persuasive presenter and storyteller, there are NO shortcuts.
I recently had the privilege to address FreemanXP’s creative staff in a Hangout. Creative Director John Jaeger and I mused on the topic of selling ideas, and how important this skill is for creative staff at marketing agencies.
Imagine me, at 17 years old, pulling in to the parking lot at work: a local Tex-Mex restaurant. I leap out of my Chevy Blazer (complete with subwoofer, of course), frantically tying my apron around my waist as I dash into the daily team meeting. (The meeting started at 10:00 am. I slept 'til 9:53.) In these meetings, sales techniques and results were common discussions, as it's when we learned of the restaurant's "daily specials," a.k.a. fish that needed to be cooked before we had to waste it.
"Man, you guys shoulda seen Nathan yesterday. He coulda sold a ketchup popsicle to a woman in white gloves," boasts our shift manager.
We live in a world of distractions. Studies show the average person spends more than five hours a day on mobile devices, and there are more than 2.7 billion smartphone users across the globe. In addition to the proliferation of digital technology, we now also live in a world full of artificial intelligence — a thing that used to seem like the stuff of science fiction movies. In fact, by 2025, experts believe the AI market will be worth more than $100 billion.
The Campfire Method requires presenters to examine four elements before selling an idea: audience, story, environment and self. All of these elements matter, but in reality, the last element - self - might be the most important, and also hardest to tackle, since it's likely you're not used to doing it, particularly in a business setting.
However, knowing yourself is essential to being a great persuasive storyteller, and therefore, if you want to make presentations that move audiences and change minds, you're going to need to focus on who you are: your strengths and weaknesses, your past experiences and your special skills. Join us on a journey of self-reflection, so you can improve your persuasive storytelling ability, and watch your ideas take hold.
The presentation is tomorrow. You know your story, and you've rehearsed your delivery according to your strengths. You have a sharp understanding of your audience and are prepared to deliver a powerful talk along the lines of empathy. You are unstoppable. Your idea will change the world.
Hang on there, cowboy. Where will this meeting take place? Around what table will your audience convene? If you answered "The Board Room," we have bad news... That's where ideas go to die.
Dramatic? Maybe. True? Absolutely.
Recently, when speaking with a franchised restaurant client, we were discussing one of the greatest chicken/egg issues in the business: traffic. It's a pretty simple equation, really, but talk it long enough and it starts to look like the snake eating its tail. More so than average guest check, traffic drives restaurant sales. And as goes sales goes marketing budget. Marketing budget begets brand. And brand ultimately leads to more traffic. So in restaurants, traffic is king. Because anyone who shows up has at least the intention to eat, so that's more than half the battle.
I couldn't help but notice how similar this is to presentations.