Imagine you’ve followed Brian’s 5 Tips for Transforming Presentations into Conversations, and the audience is totally locked in. You’re riding the elevated zen of your speaker’s high like an amped up Tony Robbins on a space station. Your presentation is going great and you’re finally ready to execute tip number 5: Bring it on home.
There’s just one problem: You don’t know where home is.
1 – Home is where you start
You can’t craft an effective presentation without knowing where home is. Home isn’t the ask. Home is the core idea that everyone in the room needs to accept before saying yes to your ask. The ask is in home’s backyard. Every aspect of your presentation should be leading viewers to this place. Don’t start building your presentation until you identify home.
2 – Lead the journey
Leading viewers to home doesn’t mean you drop a lawyerly procession of fact bombs. It means you need to tell a story, complete with background, character development and an arc. You may be the best presenter in the world, but if you can’t write a story, you won’t lead your audience home.
3 – Storytelling 101
Stories work when viewers accept the storyteller’s viewpoint. The zombies don’t appear out of thin air, there’s a background story. The zombie killing hero doesn’t just start lopping off undead heads with steely determination. We learn the hero’s flaws, failings and potential before his heroism is realized. The conclusion to a great story only works when the viewer believes the storyteller’s version of events long before the story ends.
4 – Start with the prequel
Once you know where home is – where your story will conclude – you need to decide what background info is needed to make your tale believable. This might best be done by including information that at first seems extraneous to your audience. Think of some of your favorite stories. The early scenes don’t always seem relevant, but they build support for the storyteller’s viewpoint. Don’t fear bringing in information seemingly unrelated to your topic if it will help the audience understand your ultimate viewpoint better. To introduce a background story, try this phrase “Before we talk about ____, I think it’s helpful for us to ______.”
5 – Don’t forget your one true home
Bold branding is about creating a clear, unique perception your customer’s mind. This is done through consistency and staying on message. Your customers should know exactly what your brand stands for. Don’t get so wrapped up in winning the presentation that you stray from this place. To be a bold a brand you’ll have to produce a hundred sequels. One errant plot turn can spoil the entire franchise. Know where you want to end up and boldly go there. We all have just one place we call home. Your brand does too.
About the Author
Eric Mineart is Vice President of Marketing at Pacific Retirement Services, a Medford, Oregon-based organization that helps individuals enjoy healthy, stable and secure retirement experiences. A designer by trade, Eric develops creative campaigns with a designer’s eye and a storyteller’s wit, helping clients tell brand stories that connect with audiences. Eric is a graduate of Savannah College of Art & Design. Connect with Eric on LinkedIn.
Punch Digital Strategies is a creative agency for bold brands. We provide digital marketing strategy that helps clients brand for growth and engage with customers online. We design websites that inspire action, and help clients generate leads through content marketing and social media. With services tailored to meet the needs of start-ups, B2C, B2B and non-profit organizations, we make bold brands stand out.
Learn more at AddSomePunch.com
We’ve all heard, and maybe even said, “we’ve got to do more on Facebook.” But how many business owners really take the time to think through the right approach. Share more pics of the company holiday party? That’s not going to fly. It’s rare these days to find a business that hasn’t set up shop on Facebook. It’s also just as rare to find businesses using Facebook as an effective tool to engage with clients and drive in leads. Check out these three ways your brand, and business, can grow through Facebook.
1 – Shout Less
Take a quick scan of your company’s page. If the majority of the posts are simply announcements about company activities and successes, it’s like walking into a crowded room and shouting “hey look at me” over and over. Yes, your page should showcase the company’s achievements, but being self-centered means you’re missing the opportunity to actually engage and converse with followers. Continue to share internal posts, but punctuate them with open questions and outside content. Encourage comments with leading questions like “show us how you use product x at home.” Share articles that are relevant to your industry, but not necessarily focused on your company’s achievements.
Punch is a creative agency, so (in the month or so we’ve been live) we share content that is relevant to our services: digital marketing, design and social media. But we’re also huge nerds, so we share things that reflect our weird nerd-ball interests (like generic stock photos from #UnfinishedBusiness). Remember to earn the “like,” followers really do have to like you.
2 – Target Your Audience
In 2011, when Facebook ads rolled out, many users saw them as intrusive. But by early 2015, the system has become far more refined. Today, people have adapted so that ads are now an accepted and even welcome part of news feed experience. The reason for the change is that Facebook has become surgically precise at demographic targeting. Users see content that is actually relevant. Facebook ads now offer advertisers the ability to drill into age, interests and connection to reach specific audience groups. For just a few bucks ($5-20) companies can boost specific posts to increase exposure. Paid advertising with Google AdWords, in contrast, doesn’t offer personal interest targeting that detailed. With this in mind, boosted posts can be a highly effective advertising tool to increase relevant impressions, at a relatively low cost.
Note: we’re suggesting paid ads, NOT buying likes. That’s a murky world in which no business should tread. Plus, as reported in AdWeek and confirmed by Facebook, likes from inactive accounts will be disappearing in March.
3 – Keep the End Game in Sight
One of the most important goals of generating buzz on social media is to drive traffic back to your company’s website. Even when the conversation is great, followers will always be interacting with your brand through the blue and white lens of the Facebook page layout. Facebook activity should be a part of your company’s overall online conversion strategy. Facebook is the venue to start the conversation, lead it toward an action, then end the discussion on your company’s site on your own terms. The benefits are multi-fold.
- You’re able to increase the volume of traffic to your site, which in turn reflects positively on SEO.
- You’re able to direct users to specific conversion points.
- You’re able to achieve an integrated web presence, not siloed social channels and a lonely corporate website.
Be sure to write content and include links that drive traffic back to your website, even in conversation-focused posts.
By the way, check out this great article from Inc.com that shows 20 B2C companies that are absolutely rocking their Facebook presence.
If you’re in sales or marketing, leading presentations is part of your daily routine. You’re on the proverbial stage constantly, sometimes presenting completely disparate concepts to vastly different clients, back to back. This is especially true for us in the creative business. We’re often faced with the challenge of presenting concepts that, if adopted, could create major cultural shifts within an organization. Sometimes “change” can be the toughest message to present.
Have you ever found yourself in the following situation? You’ve just passionately presented a long slide deck, walking through all of the technicalities and details slide-by-slide. At the end, your guest states something to the effect of, “great presentation, I get what you’re presenting, I hear what you’re saying and you made a great case.” Sounds like a good reaction, right? Really, this is the worst kind of response. The underlying message of the comment could be restated, “good performance, I hear you talking at me.” The response isn’t particularly negative, but it shows that the presentation didn’t break down the barrier between audience and speaker.
The best presentations are conversations. They’re participatory dialogues between two parties that both care about the content on the table. The end result is that everyone in the room leaves with a shared understanding and purpose, and the wall between presenter and audience is eliminated. Here are a few tips to turn presentations into conversations.
1. Start Small
Any presentation, whether it’s a new business pitch or a website design review, will be so much more effective if the presenter and audience can form a personal relationship. I’m not suggesting that you become best friends forever, but there needs to be some clear common ground. Small talk of a personal nature can open the door. What happened to you on the drive over? When is this weather going to end? How great is your son’s baseball team? Feel out your audience and share something personal to make a direct connection. Always listen intently to the response.
2. Take a Breath
So you’ve got a lot of ground to cover? Reel it back. Structure your interactive presentation with transition slides to serve as punctuation to central ideas. These slides can function as section dividers, and should feature minimal, if any content, and muted color or graphics. The purpose of breather slides is to help avoid glazes-gaze screen staring that can result from rapid-fire info barrage. Use divider slides to draw the audience’s focus back to the presenter, the person, rather than the content on screen.
3. Ask Questions
“Please hold your questions until the end.” We’ve all said it, and it’s simply bad news. As presenters, sometimes we speak to audiences assuming they are subject matter experts. Asking questions spontaneously is the best way to gauge your audience’s comprehension of the material you’re presenting. I’m not suggesting that you put anyone on the spot with a pop quiz, but make eye contact and ask questions that connect your subject matter to the audience’s personal or business goals. Pause for feedback and make sure everyone in the room understands the terminology at hand.
4. Get Moving
The worst way to lose the room is to sit still. If you’re a stationary talking head, or a pillar standing next to the screen, you’re just as likely to be considered part of the conference room furniture. Accentuate your message by moving along with the rhythm of your presentation. If you’re in the board room, and you have the opportunity to stand, then stand! Rise to the occasion as you reach critical information. Point out details on screen, and invite your audience to do the same. When you and your audience member are at the screen together, you’ve smashed the barrier.
5. Bring it Home
In jazz, it’s the lead line, the melody you introduced early on (more on that subject here). Always close with a return to where you began. After you’ve led your audience on a participatory journey from one way of thinking to another, reiterate the connections that got you there. It’s an essential step that can ensure everyone in the room is on the same page.
Break down the wall, and make it personal.
Next time you’re giving an introductory pitch, or sharing your ideas for the next creative campaign, make it personal. Ask questions, and get the audience involved throughout the presentation. You’ll go from talking at your audience, to speaking with them in no time.
Punch Digital Strategies is a creative agency for bold brands. We provide digital marketing strategy that owns the field. We design websites that inspire devotion, and we write content that instigates action. At Punch we help companies brand for growth. We help business engage with customers online, and manage clients’ online reputation through content marketing and social media. With services tailored to meet the needs of start-ups, B2C, B2B and non-profit organizations, we make bold brands stand out.
Learn more at AddSomePunch.com