In chemistry an element is said to be inert when it is incapable of combining with another element.
In business presentations this occurs when the 3 elements concerned (Presenter, Material, Audience) fail to combine.
The usual reason inertia happens is through not observing the 3 rules of successful business storytelling.
1) Develop an Active Question.
Stephen King said that there is only one rule when it comes to storytelling. Your reader must want to know what is coming next.
The main way to ensure this is through hooking them at the start with a question, explicitly or implicitly stated.
Audiences need to know (or want to know) at least one of the following:
- How is this relevant?
- How will it make life easier?
- How will it help me gain clients?
- Why are you better than your competitors?
- What’s different about you?
- Why should I care?
Fail to get generate an active question in the first two minutes of your presentation and you lose you audience. Succeed and they will stick with your story.
It goes without saying that you shouldn’t answer your question immediately.
Make them care; make them wait!
2) Cue – View – Review
Don’t just progress through your deck reading out what’s on each slide. Do this instead:
- Cue – Say what slide is coming up next (or chapter of slides) and why it’s relevant to your audience.
- View – Show the slide and shut up for a few seconds (i.e. allow the audience to absorb it).
- Review – Give the audience something that is not on the screen. This may be a fact, an insight or a specific benefit.
3) Edit your deck.
Scott Fitzgerald said that all writing is re-writing. It’s as true for business presentations as it is for novel writing.
- What slides can I cut?
- How can I simplify them?
- Can I have a presentation deck and a leave-behind deck?
- Can I sub text for graphics?
To find out more about how your business presentations can avoid inertia, contact me at: firstname.lastname@example.org