Want to change minds with your presentations? Make them feel.
Updated: Oct 7, 2018
What do you think is the greatest obstacle when trying to sell an idea?
A lot of times, it’s not a competitor.
But the status quo.
This is probably slightly more often true when you are trying to get buy-in from internal clients rather than external ones, but it’s very frequently true in both cases.
“It’s worked okay so far, so it will keep working well.”
is a high mountain to climb.
However, since the only constant thing in life is change, sticking to the old ways will often make it difficult to stay successful in the long run. And if we are looking to take things to the next level, then doing what has taken us here will probably not help us climb an even higher mountain. But comfort zones are just too… well, comfortable to leave behind.
So how can you convince people to step out of their comfort zone?
How can you change your audience’s mind in a presentation?
By making them feel that what they have isn’t working. Or not as well as what you are offering.
Let me give you an example. Everybody knows how to make slides. Levels of technical expertise may vary, but creating slides in presentation software is far from rocket science. The problem is that over 95% of slides interfere with the verbal message. That’s 95% of all the slides I have been exposed to and have even done my own surveys on. And I haven’t been less lucky than the average Joe.
However, very few presenters and audiences are aware of this problem. Which is a status quo that is difficult to change.
So how do I make my audiences feel it? At the beginning of the worksop I give on slides (
Brain-Friendly Slides), I deliver a message while showing a slide featuring the typical hallmarks of most visuals you see in the corporate world nowadays. And I measure how many participants do not hear parts of what I say. Typically, 70-90% fail to do so. Sometimes it's 100%.
After I help them realise this, it’s plain sailing. But their minds would be less likely to change if I didn't make them FEEL that the way they have been using slides is actually hurting their effectiveness, bottom lines and careers.
Then, the audience is all ears and keen to learn what makes slides brain-friendly, i.e. what kind of slides and delivery truly support the verbal message, rather than distract from it. It works every time.
Just telling them, even in great detail, never produced the same results until I figured out how to make them FEEL the status quo was bad. And how bad it was.
Naturally, finding a way to make audiences feel things is always more difficult than telling them. But a lot more effective.
When Steve Jobs presented the MacBook Air, he first showed how thin the Air was in numbers. But what really made the audience feel it was when he took it out of a manila envelope. It was an aha moment.
So the next time you are up against the status quo, think about how you will make your audience feel it is hurting them to get buy-in.
If you find the ideas in this post interesting, drop me a line. Share what aspects of your presentations you would be interested in improving. And I’ll be happy to cover it in a post.