Powerful Sales Presentations: 7 Best Practices

Guy Kawasaki, an author and venture capitalist, once said, “Enchantment is the purest form of sales. Enchantment is all about changing people’s hearts, minds and actions because you provide them a vision or a way to do things better. The difference between enchantment and simple sales is that with enchantment you have the other person’s best interests at heart, too.”

A good sales presentation, otherwise known as a sales pitch, is often the distinguishing factor of a successful company that has all of its prospective buyers in the palm of its hand. In today’s rapidly changing market, where approximately 100 million new businesses are started every year by aspiring entrepreneurs with so much to offer, just staying afloat can be a struggle sometimes.

If what you’re looking for is a way to rise above the rest, help is here — because this article is going to teach you the art of delivering a stunning sales pitch.

How To Create Powerful Sales Presentations

If you’re just starting out, don’t worry, we’re going to tell you exactly what you need to do. Making your sales pitch compelling really isn’t rocket science, and it’s going to come naturally once you get the hang of it!

1. Understand Your Audience, Tailor Your Presentation

In most cases, you already know the group of people that you will be pitching to. Take advantage of that and spend some time learning about them: familiarize yourself with their backgrounds, read up on their industries, and get to know them a little better through checking their business websites or searching them online. For a small group of audience, you should be able to do more in-depth background research. However, this tip works even with a significantly larger group of people, even though you might not be able to probe as much. If possible, find out who your rival companies are and in your presentation, not only demonstrate how the product that you’re selling is perfect for people with their backgrounds, but also how it has a competitive edge over other companies. Your selling point should be focused on a specific feature that your audience can benefit from most.

2. Brevity is the Soul of Wit

The people listening to your sales pitch are likely to be those with authority, or have the power to influence the decision makers — which is why you’re pitching to them. Be mindful that these are people with busy schedules and are not new to sales pitches, so make a list of crucial information that would be essential in pushing your sale beforehand and adhere closely to it. Avoid going off-tangent or going to extreme lengths to try to impress them. Most importantly, always ask questions and address their specific concerns so that the entire interaction happens on a more intimate level. This makes for an effective sales presentation, as it reflects the notion that you understand your clients’ needs, and also enriches your personal learning experience. Always make sure you:

  1. Address how your product covers any specific needs that they have
  2. Acknowledge any reservations or doubts that they might have
  3. Accept their feedback if anything falls short and use that to fine-tune your product/presentation

3. Know When to be a Storyteller

Everybody loves a story — good stories, when told at the right situations, can evoke emotional responses from people. People are more engaged when they hear personal narratives as compared to a list of hard facts, because it allows them to connect with you on a more personal and meaningful level. It helps them see who you are beyond a salesman trying to get them to buy something from you; you have depth, history.

The fun part is, you get to choose how you want to incorporate the element of storytelling into your pitch! You can choose to deliver your presentation in the form of a story, or you can choose to build your product on a series of anecdotes, there are so many ways it can be done. Infuse humour whenever a window opens for it, and appeal to your audience through personal narrations.

Remember: Remind them that you’re so much more than just another salesman.

4. Remember the Power of Three

While it is tempting to pack all the benefits of your product into your slide deck, keep in mind that good sales presentations should never neglect the power of three:

  • Your pitch should contain no more than three big, central ideas
  • Each individual slide should contain no more than three pieces of information

It has been proven time and time again that there’s just something about the power of three — making three points — that really resonates with the human brain. Things that come in threes are just more satisfying, more memorable, and more effective. Any more than three, and you might find yourself losing the attention of your audience.

5. Include Relevant Examples, Evidence, and Data

All words and no proof makes your entire sales presentation weak and flimsy, so be sure to back up your claims with plenty of evidence. Include relevant examples and present your data in the form of charts or graphs, whichever would make them most easily comprehensible with one look. Additionally, instead of giving generic descriptions of what your product can do for your clients, provide specific examples of how your product has helped people of similar backgrounds achieve what they want.

Ideally, ask satisfied customers for referrals to other potential prospects. Referrals are more likely to end up in a sale as prior bridges have already been built, and nothing works better than the good old ethos.

6. Pursuing the Next Steps

Never be too eager to pressure potential clients into sealing any deals. Understand that they might still have some doubts, and be flexible with your options instead of rushing them straight into a commitment. Be open to offering alternatives such as free trials or demos, and let them know they can take a bit more time to consider the product because you truly have their interests at heart. As long as you are pursuing a next step together, it’s a win. Showing them that you genuinely believe in the product you are selling will also go a long way.

7. A Good Slogan Sticks for a Long Time

Last but not least, do your best to come up with a catchy slogan that is not only related to, but also reminiscent of your product. If you’ve ever had the experience of having a particular song or tune stuck in your head and finding yourself humming along without even realizing it, this is the exact same effect that a quality slogan can have. Impress your audience with an applaudable presentation, but make that impression a lasting one with a slogan that sticks in their heads and pops up when they’re not expecting it. Before you know it, you’ve already charmed your way into their hearts.

You’ll see that it’s not all that difficult to find your place in a market that never sleeps. Just remember, for a powerful sales presentation, make sure you:

  1. Know your audience
  2. Get to the point
  3. Be engaging
  4. Condense your information
  5. Include relevant evidence
  6. Pursue a further relationship
  7. End with a catchy slogan

All it takes is a little bit of practice and voila, watch as the magic happens. Good luck!

Why Not Every Presentation Should Be Like Steve Jobs’s

Many of us would agree that Steve Jobs’ presentations can be considered to have ‘legendary’ status. We’ve probably come across them in some way, either through watching Apple’s WWDC, or reading articles and books such as Carmine Gallo’s that was dedicated to discussing his speeches.

Ever since the unveiling of the iPhone in 2007, the less-text, highly visual and ‘big picture’ style of presentations have grown in appeal to presenters from all walks of life. In fact, if you were to compare it to Bill Gates circa 2000, it would seem that Steve’s unorthodox approach to presentation visuals and their format was at odds with how the rest of the corporate world delivered their presentations at the time.

It stood out amongst text-heavy presentations that put people to sleep, gave audiences the breath of fresh air they needed to remain engaged, and enthralled many with the aesthetic presentation approach. This is why it is now the gold standard of an ideal keynote presentation.

But is that really the best?

Contrary to popular belief, this style of presenting may not always be the best catchall definition of an ‘effective’ presentation. Instead, presentations should be designed according to their contexts.

The problem is, most people tried to follow suit without understanding two things:

  1. Steve Jobs could get away with that style of presenting because he had the autonomy to do it.
  2. This format of presenting may be great for a keynote speech, but might not fit every setting.

Put it this way – if you had to speak to your company’s CEO and a five-year-old child about a topic, would you use the same tone towards both? Similarly, different presentation settings require different styles, and different audiences require different ways of reaching out to them. This is why a Steve Jobs, TED-style presentation will not work in a boardroom, and a text-heavy slide deck may not succeed at a conference.

Presentations that follow the style frequently used by Apple work best for on-stage presentations at large events such as WWDC or TED talks. These situations are occasions where visually impactful slides make a huge difference and help to bring across key messages quickly to numerous audience members in a short timeframe.

However, in boardroom meetings where critical decisions need to be made by the audience, such presentations may end up backfiring as they may seem fluffy and probably lack important information needed to support the decision-making process. Instead, the presentations have to go beyond inspiring audiences and should involve slightly text-heavy slides with fewer images.

In short – Just like how we dress appropriately for different social functions, presentations are most effective when they are designed with the audience and the context in mind. Touting one particular style of presenting as a catch-all method for various kinds of presentations might be a segue towards career suicide.

Regardless of whether you’re using PowerPoint or other presentation software, the principles tend to be the same – you need to cater your presentation towards the setting. We encourage learners in our presentation skills courses to always be aware of the context before developing their presentations.

So let’s talk about the five different styles of presentations you may encounter, and the best approach for each of them.

presentation matrix - HighSpark

The Presentation-type Matrix

1. Keynote Speeches

The typical objective of a keynote speech is to inspire and help the audience retain key points quickly. This is why the content generally focuses more on the “why” rather than the “what”; for example, in most TED talks, speakers pull together stories with the main take-home message that is both insightful and impactful. In these situations, the presentations generally involve fewer words, highly visual and meaningful images, and a couple of key points.

These speeches are commonly also littered with literary devices like analogies, quotes and other tools for presentations. Steve’s presentations are notorious for having lines like: “And one more thing…” and also anecdotes of how customers use Apple’s products.

A good example to check out would be organizational psychologist Adam Grant’s TED talk, ‘Are You a Giver or a Taker?’. He wove in various experiences from interactions with others into a narrative that highlighted his key message: Why helping others drives our success.

2. Marketing Presentations

Marketing decks are generally created with the aim of spreading awareness about a product, organization, or initiative, and hopefully, gain an initial buy-in, hence they’re shared across various platforms such as the internet or social media. One popular example would be SlideShare, a social platform that allows users to upload their presentations on the site.

Like many of the featured SlideShare presentations, the content of the presentation deck is generally structured in a narrative, with minimal text and visually impactful stock images and icons to sustain the interest of the readers.

The general rule of thumb here is that your digital presentations that need to stand alone should have just enough text for it to be consumable without a presenter to walk through it but at the same time brief enough to be skimmed through quickly. Steve Jobs was well-known to have his slides designed to be as brief as possible. The problem with this approach without a presenter is that the audience can’t make meaning from such presentations.

Remember, in the digital world, most of us have extremely short attention spans. Think of your marketing materials as a hook – provide just the right amount of information to arouse interest, so that the audience is motivated to find out more. If there are too many details, it is difficult for them to maintain interest.

3. Sales Decks

Like what its name suggests, sales decks are generally used by salespeople to present their product to a client, with the aim of closing a deal. Chances are, you’ve gotten a foot-in-the-door beforehand with your marketing materials and numerous follow-ups, so your audience already knows the big picture. Now that they’re in the buying-decision process, what they want are the key details.

Here, both information and visuals hold equal importance, as the audience needs to visualize in order to be persuaded. At the same time, details should be included to add credibility, and concrete case studies of the products will help to paint a clear picture in their mind on how they can benefit from what you’re offering.

There are three main pillars of a sales presentation: Problems, Solutions, and Benefits. You need to show your audience that you understand the problems that they’re facing, how you can be their solution, and what are the benefits of choosing you instead of your competitors or sticking to the status quo. So when you meet your prospect for the first time, command their attention by addressing their key challenges, before ever talking about the solutions you offer.

In these presentations, technical aspects and details of your solutions are not required during the first stage of discussion. Instead, leave them until the end, when your audience is at least half-invested in what you’re offering. Unlike a ‘Steve Jobs style’ presentation where you speak about most topics at a high-level, sales presentations sometimes require you to get into the nitty gritty of your solutions.

Auston case study highspark presentation design

Example: Auston Institute Sales Presentation

4. Internal Review Presentations

Mostly used in corporate settings, the main objective of an internal review is usually to align goals amongst the stakeholders and propose areas for further improvements. This is where slapping an image onto a slide without any text just won’t cut it – details are key in this situation.

This can be said to be a polar opposite of Steve’s style of presenting. In many companies, especially larger firms, gathering stakeholders can be a challenge, and not everyone may be able to turn up for the meeting, increasing the likelihood of the presentation deck being disseminated after the meeting. Without sufficient details, the reader will not be able to understand, hence rendering the deck useless. If you try sending something out of Steve Jobs’ presentation during the Worldwide Developer’s Conference, it’s likely you’ll get a mouthful from your boss and colleagues.

In this case, information including ‘Why’, ‘What’, ‘Who’, ‘When’, ‘Where’, and ‘How’ are extremely important, and should be presented in order for stakeholders to make a decision.

This doesn’t mean that your slides have to look wordy and cluttered – your content can be arranged in a fashion that draws your audience’s attention to the key message, and be designed with visuals that add value to the communication of the content.

Internal reviews might not always look pretty, but they need to first and foremost ‘work’.

5. Investor Decks

This is more relevant for startups and new companies on the rise. To reach into the deep pockets of your potential investors, you have to be extremely clear and specific about your strategy to be a highly profitable and successful company. Details need to be shown to give the investors confidence in both your idea and your team.

However, many investor pitch decks (notably the public ones during Demo Day) are required to be delivered in 5-7 minutes. This is why you’ll need to keep your text minimal to allow them to focus on the key message of your pitch. At the same time, every important detail must be shared and highlighted.

So think of it as an elevator pitch – if you only had a minute to convince someone to buy into your idea, what would you say? That’s where your key message lies. When in doubt, have a look at some of the successful pitch deck examples online and you’ll get a good sensing of what’s required.

This is why (similar to keynote speeches) investor decks include fewer words and more images. The emphasis is on getting your audience to see your vision, and envision the same things you want to achieve. The only caveat is if you need this investor presentation to be read by others – then you might need a separate version to stand on its own. In some instances, Steve’s style might work on Demo Day, however in closed doors situations, you might want a little more data on your slide to back you up and support your pointers.

There you have it, five types of presentations for different situations apart from the Steve Jobs ‘TED style presentations’. Remember that those techniques we highlighted above aren’t always the gold standard, you’ll need to apply them correctly for it to be effective.

For your next presentation, keep your audience and purpose of the deck in mind. From there, you can figure out the appropriate style, and apply the right balance of text and images.

Have fun and all the best!

Psst – Which of these styles work best for your presentations? Let us know in the comments below!

5 Awesome Branding Tools for Killer Presentations

You know you have to give a presentation. You cringe just thinking about it. Between coming up with a unique way to present your information, engaging your audience, and keeping yourself engaged, it’s enough to make you scream. Not to mention that sometimes all the knowledge you’ve garnered from presentation courses previously might seem to not give you enough of an edge in such circumstances.

But it doesn’t have to be this way. You can supplement your presentation with various branding tools to make it more exciting for both you and the audience.

After all, the whole point is to make sure the audience learns and retains the information you present to them.

Furthermore, these branding tools are very useful if you want to build a strong brand identity. These tools are an extremely important factor since it can help build your reputation, make you stand out from your competition and project your values and unique selling propositions (USPs) which help to attract future prospects.

Hence, check out these 5 branding tools to give your presentation a boost!

1. Video

A great way to open your presentation is with a video, and you can use it to introduce the audience to your brand. Include your logo at both the beginning and end, and incorporate your color scheme and typography throughout.

Do keep it short, as you still have a presentation that will follow up. You can consider using catchy music to keep the audience engaged. In addition, include imagery that illustrates the points you plan to discuss and appeals to the audience in a way a simple slideshow might not. This will help you build an emotional bond with them. If you aren’t confident in your ability to make a high-quality clip, work with an expert to edit your video and add other post-production elements to make it stand out.

2. Slideshow

Just like the video, you should design your slideshow to match your branding, including colors, typography, imagery, and logos. Keep your presentation to three key points so that it doesn’t become too lengthy, and your audience will have an easier time remembering your topics.

Remember, the slideshow is a supplement of your presentation, so do not read directly from the slides. This will put your audience on the fast track towards boredom (you may even see them fall asleep)! Instead of using it as a substitute for your notes, the slideshow should help tell your story or highlight facts and figures. Be creative and keep it simple.

3. Brochures and Infographics

It’s easy to direct the audience to your website and social media, but it’ll be good to send them home with something too. A professionally designed brochure will help build credibility with your audience and illustrate your key points. Be sure to use images and charts to break up the text and make it easier to follow.

Your brochure should pique audience members’ interest in your products or services. It also has a longer shelf life than the other elements of your presentation as the audience can take it home and use it as reference material. Leave a few extra behind for people who might have missed the presentation.

Alternatively, if you prefer keeping things digital, you can create an infographic that the audience can refer to after the presentation has ended. A good infographic design should contain the main elements of your presentation or summarize the information in key points. You can distribute it via email if your audience registered their attendance, or place a link to it in your slides.

4. Mascot

Another way to get the audience’s attention is to bring along a mascot. Of course, this does not work for every business and is more effective for industries that are less serious. However, if your brand allows for it, a professional in a fun, colorful suit is a great way to get audiences excited.

A mascot will not only break up the monotony of your presentation, it’ll also help create more brand awareness. You’ll probably want to wait till you approach the end of your presentation to bring out the mascot, and make sure it can help illustrate one of your key points. Otherwise, it could be more of a distraction and end up backfiring.

Mascots add a fun element to your presentation while making your brand as a whole more personable. The audience can hang around after the presentation for photos with the mascot, which could create a buzz on social media and get you more followers.

5. Prizes

An effective way to engage your audience is to have a competition with the promise of prizes at the end. Create a three-question quiz to reward the people who paid attention. Alternatively, include a few special Easter Eggs throughout your slides that audience members can keep a lookout for, and award prizes at the end. You could even have your mascot hand them out!

As for the prizes themselves, this is where your brand comes in. Giving out items such as custom T-shirts, tote bags and keychains with your logo and colors on them will build more brand awareness when the winners take your swag out and put it to use. You can also include gift cards or coupons for your products or services. 

Developing a presentation can be rough. You want to make sure your audiences walk away with more knowledge about your products or services and hope that they are as excited about it as you are.

Coming up with ways to get your points across and integrate your brand without giving the impression of a sleazy salesman is the hardest part. Using some of these tools will help you create an exciting experience for your audience, and make you feel like you’ve knocked it out of the park.

Do you have other cool branding tools to boost your presentations? Let us know what they are in the comments below!

4 Powerful Presentation Strategies for Growing Your Business

If you want a plant to grow, you would never just stick a seed into the dirt and hope for the best. Plants also need water, sunlight—maybe even a bit of conversation if you’re feeling quirky.

It’s the same with creating presentations for your business. You can’t just focus on one single thing, ignoring the big picture, and expect the company to grow.

Delivering a presentation is one of the most essential and fundamental methods of cultivating your business. But there’s more to creating a great business presentation than just including all of your most persuasive statistics and testimonials.

If you really want to attract clients, you have to consider every single aspect of the presentation—both on the screen and off.

With that in mind, here are 4 simple presentation tips you can use to help your business flourish to its full potential.

1. Consider Your Audience

Before you even begin writing your presentation, go over any relevant prospect data or market research about your audience that you have access to. Who are they, and why specifically might they use your product or service? Be sure to tailor your presentation specifically for them.

For instance, if your company specializes in cookware and you were presenting to a group of restaurant owners, they would most likely want to hear about how your products can be best used in a restaurant’s kitchen.

You wouldn’t present those products in the same way to an organization of outdoor enthusiasts; they’d be more interested in how the cookware could be used on a camping trip.

Trim your presentation down to the elements that will be most relevant to the people you’re speaking to. This way, you’ll get higher engagement and it’ll be much easier to ask for a sale or action.

2. Don’t Skimp on Visual Design

Seeing people use the same old PowerPoint themes over and over is enough to make me cringe. A premade template is a fine place to start, but if you want your slides to stand out, you have to add your own personal touches to make them fresh and original. Imagine going into a venture capitalist meeting with your investor pitch deck wholly made from a default template.

Pick out a color scheme that complements your brand; a few contrasting colors are usually pleasing to the eye. Use plenty of white space so that your slides won’t appear cluttered and difficult to digest.

There are a couple of ways to quickly get your presentation looking great:

a) Using Photos

A good photograph can go a long way; don’t rely too much on text. When you’re looking for photos, try to stay away from ones featuring subjects who are obviously posed in an unnatural way; these can make your presentation feel cheesy and artificial. Not sure where to look? Check out our compilation of 33 free stock photo sites for your next presentation.

b) Using non-default fonts

We’ve all been to presentations where Arial, Times New Roman and Comic Sans (blech) make their constant appearances. If allowed at your workplace, why not try some non-default fonts? Head over to fontsquirrel.com  where you’ll find commercially available non-default fonts that you can use for your next presentation without any legal consequence!

Picking a couple of fonts that stand out for headings will give your presentations that extra pizazz as well as help it stand out in a sea of sameness if you’re at a conference presenting along with other speakers.

Be sure to check out our other quick and simple tips for making a presentation look professional, even if you’re a beginner at design. If you need more assistance, our presentation design experts are happy to help.

3. Have Printed Materials on Hand

Sometimes audiences engage better with information if they have something tangible they can hold in their hands. Printed handouts are an excellent way to capitalize on this, especially when you’re explaining a particularly complicated subject.

One tactic is to have a printed copy of your digital presentation that audience members can take home with them. This acts as a lasting reminder of your business (especially if you use binders custom printed with your logo) and gives prospects a visual aid that will help them explain your concepts to others later. You won’t necessarily want to include every single slide; it’s not like you’ll be there to

You won’t necessarily want to include every single slide; it’s not like you’ll be there to explain them after the presentation is over. Adapt your presentation into a format that your audience can easily comprehend on their own. A great way to do this is to create your own handouts that don’t necessarily repeat what’s on the slide, but instead adds depth and elaboration on the pointers that you make within your presentation.

Alternatively, you could create binders full of materials that supplement your points and hand them out before the presentation starts for corporate settings. Just be careful with this strategy; you don’t want people looking down at a binder when they should be focused on you and your words. Don’t overload the recipient with text; stick to simple visual aids that reinforce the things you’re saying.

4. Don’t Just Talk, Listen

The worst thing you can do in a presentation is read off your slides word-for-word without ever actually engaging with your audience. The most effective presentations aren’t lectures where you simply dictate information—they’re conversations where you tell your audience a story and respond directly to their questions and concerns.

This doesn’t mean you should tolerate audience members constantly interrupting you with irrelevant comments, or force them to hold off all of their questions until you’re finished speaking.

Even better, consider asking them questions as part of your presentation. Their answers might give you better insight into the direction your presentation should go and you’ll be able to engage with them on a deeper level.

Rather than just talking at them, you’ll be talking with them.

Keep these 4 handy strategies in mind, and your next business presentation will be a hit!

Do you have more tips for creating a solid presentation that will attract business? Let us know in the comments below!

Make Your Data Storytelling Come to Life In Your Presentation

Have you ever sat through a presentation where the data just looks so.. dull? Or overwhelming? Don’t worry, we can relate.

Don’t get us wrong. Data is wonderful, and plays a key role in our decision making – especially in business. But, it can get a little boring sometimes. Furthermore, we tend to tune out after 10 minutes of listening, where it becomes easier to focus on anything except the presentation.

So, now that you’re the one conducting a business presentation, why not avoid giving your audience the same misery you’ve experienced?

Here’s the thing. As presenters, we often make the assumption that the more content crammed into slides the better. After all, more information does show that you’re more knowledgeable about what you’re sharing, right?

Not really.

In fact, when you first begin creating your presentation slides, one tip is to start by thinking of a headline that summarises your content succinctly. Think of it as a ‘Twitter-friendly headline’ as Carmine Gallo would say. This helps you focus on your key message so you can decide on which relevant information to include.

Data such as statistics and facts are fixed, but should not be rigid. If you have not decided on whether the information should be placed on your slides, ask yourself: What is your motive in presenting the data to the audience? If it’s just for the sake of showing, would it not be better placed in an appendix or word report?

The purpose of a presentation is to convince the audience to buy into what you’re selling, be it an idea, product or goal. That means it’s not just about using facts and figures – it’s also about appealing to their emotional side and gaining their trust. You need to craft a persuasive presentation

Here’s where data storytelling comes in.

The Art of Data Storytelling 

“Numbers have an important story to tell. They rely on you to give them a clear and convincing voice.” –Stephen Few 

Data storytelling is visualising data effectively. But despite so, it needs to be more than just creating visually appealing charts or graphs. It needs to be able to communicate the message across via the data presented. Basically, it all boils down to a combination of these three elements: data, visuals and storytelling.

When your story is coupled with data, it helps to explain to your audience what’s happening in the data and highlight the important points.

It helps enlighten the audience to insights that they wouldn’t see without charts or graphs. Visuals ensure that the data attracts the audience’s eyes to look at it – to be interested by it.

If you can combine these three elements together, you’ll definitely make your data come back to life.

Below is a video of Hans Rosling who is able to blend data and storytelling beautifully, so much that it can captivate anyone seeing him present:

Now you know how a good data storytelling is executed, learn how to prepare one as well. Here are our 3 proven tips that help boost your data storytelling:

1. Make It About Them

It is easy to talk about statistics. ’34% of children between the age of 7 to 9 in Singapore suffer from myopia’. ’13.3% of Singaporeans are smokers’. However, these are merely figures to the audience.

For example, if you’re sharing about myopia to a group of parents, ‘34%’ sounds rather insignificant, doesn’t it?

Here’s where the problem lies. The percentage of children suffering from myopia seems small, and using a pie chart gives the impression that the probability of it happening to their child is low. In the end, the figure you’ve shown is easily dismissed and forgotten.

Business presentations, especially those that you seek to convince with, are often filled with so much information that the audience becomes accustomed to it. Numbers lack the emotional impact that gets them to think, ‘okay, I need to pay attention because it concerns me’. So if you want to make an impression, you have to make it personal.

Start by amplifying the meaning behind your numbers. The beauty of data is that you can represent it in various ways to form different perspectives and opinions.

In this example, you can make it personal by asking the audience to look to their left and right. Tell them that amongst themselves and the two people beside them, one will have to tackle this problem with his or her child. Now the perspective has shifted. Instead of dismissing it as a low probability statistic, people now see themselves in the position, and they immediately realize the urgency to address the issue.

2. Get Your Audience to Fill Someone Else’s Shoes

You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view, until you climb inside of his skin and walk around in it” – Harper Lee author of the book ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’,

In many situations, we frequently emphasise the need to empathise and presentations are no different.

Your audience is generally eager to see you succeed. Unfortunately, they have short attention spans and will eventually start to drift off. To make things interesting, and increase their understanding of what you’re saying, giving them the opportunity to see things from another perspective.

Example

Here’s the first example: Let’s say you’re delivering a sales presentation on HR software.

“After making the switch to our HR Software,  55% of these existing users have a 120% jump in productivity”

Sounds alright. You heard the benefits loud and clear. But… you don’t see the need to do anything about it right? There is no motivation to make you do so.

Now take a look at this example:

“John is a HR Manager who used Program X. He feels so frustrated with the system as it caused him problems with managing his staff, tabulating salaries, and other issues that added on to his workload rather than reducing it. Then he made the swap to our HR system. Instantly, his burden was lightened. Salaries became easier to calculate, employee holidays were easier to manage and John no longer has to worry about the system breaking down. 55% of other users like John found a 120% jump in productivity”

Do you feel inclined to do the same as John? That is the power of storytelling. Its main goal is to get your audience to feel the pain of maintaining the status quo, and envision the positive results if they go with your suggestion. It makes the character relatable to them. Makes the audience understand why the problem is a problem and how the solution can help them.

There are many storytelling techniques that help connect the audience to your message. ‘The Hero’s Journey Approach’ and ‘Mystery Storytelling’ are the most simple yet high effective techniques many speakers use to create an impactful presentation.

3. Simplify Not Intensify

Charts are fantastic, they demonstrate what we want to say without using dozens of words that clutter the slides. With a quick addition of a few bars and lines, we remove the need to explain the numbers individually.

But what happens when your charts get too complicated? You’re back to square one. Charts are intended to help the audience visualise data. But when ‘data-dumping’ occurs, your audience is once again faced with the task of digesting the information in the short span of time when you show the slide.

As we’ve said earlier, data is fixed but not rigid. You may not be able to change the figures, but you can change the way it is presented.

Let’s assume you’re sharing a comparison set of statistics between two companies.

Start by asking yourself, what is the intention of presenting these figures? Is it to show an increase or decrease on a certain month? Is it to show the difference?

Once you’ve figured out the purpose, remove all the unnecessary data. You can leave them in the appendix if needed, but since you’re not going to talk about it in your presentation, eliminate it.

The next step is to ask yourself what your audience requires to understand the chart. Are the guidelines needed? Do they serve a purpose, or will eliminating them make it look clearer? Is it necessary to label every single point on the axis?

Based on that, we can remove unnecessary lines and details, to keep the chart simple.

Once you’ve removed the lines, you can add labels to the key points that the audience should focus on.

Wrapping It Up

Remember, this isn’t school work, where the reader has to see every single step you are doing. These people whom you’re presenting to need the easiest way possible to understand what you are trying to say in the shortest amount of time.

Data is integral in showing why the audience should trust your presentation or you. The beauty of your data should be shown visually as well.  Remember to keep these three tips in mind when working on your data, and have fun!