Advanced presentation and slide design tips: Start with the Pain
Open with a provocative question or statement that will get their minds working on the subject at hand, the reason for your talk. Like a “cliff-hanger” movie, begin with the pain as you open. Instead of starting your talk with information about you (or your organisation), start with what matters to your audience.
Remember: Your audience is always asking “Why should I listen to you?” and “What’s in it for me?” Beginning with their pain answers these questions. Change begins with buy-in. When thinking Slide design start with a problem the audience can relate to.
Demonstrating your knowledge of your audience’s real world business challenges sets the expectation that your talk is relevant to them. This demonstrates far more credibility than a list of your accomplishments or company history. Leave your CV highlights to the person who introduces you. A good (short) written introduction gives credibility. A longwinded list of your skills and accomplishments is boring, and can sound like bragging to the audience. Get down to why they are there as soon as possible. The audience is always wondering WIIFM (What’s in it for me?) Answer this question quickly then move on to your solution.
Share your solution
Share what you have discovered or done; don’t tell them what to do. When we face a challenge we are curious, looking for solutions, but we still don’t want to be told what to do. Share your solutions, and how they were applied. Your slide design should be simple and focus on what the audience needs to know, not everything you want to share.
There may be numerous ways to solve the same problem, but your audience is interested in discovering how your solutions can work for them. Share how you have helped clients with similar problems in the past, and what the results were. Stories are a powerful way to share the solutions you have discovered and the obstacles you faced along the way. Sharing some of the obstacles speaks to a custom-fit solution, rather than a one size fits all.
Give them an experience
When we laugh we remember.
The easiest way to become memorable is to entertain your audience, have relevant stories that make them laugh (while making your point). You don’t have to be a comedian or an entertainer. If you can make them smile, link your story to their pain and share your solution, you will have an engaged audience.
As speakers we have an opportunity to entertain as well as inform. Often our audience could have picked up a book and discovered the solutions for themselves. We can also add a human element beyond just sharing a solution, through personal stories that inspire and amuse.
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