Master Your Message Blog

problem

Virtually every presentation has to persuade someone of something.

Now you might argue that point by saying that some presentations are informational. That may be true. But there’s usually a desire on the part of the presenter to persuade the audience that the information is important, or that they should do something with that information after the talk is complete.

Setting up a persuasive presentation is actually relatively easy. You want to make sure your audience knows why you’re all assembled there – usually there’s a problem or opportunity. It’s your job as the presenter to state what it is so that you and the audience are “on the same page.”

Once the problem is on the table, it’s time to deal with the solution. Read More …

This is for those of us who have sat through a persuasive presentation and wondered, “What on earth is this about?”

I haven’t actually counted, but it seems to me that it happens more than fifty percent of the time. I don’t know where the speaker is going. The flow of the presentation is off – it’s not logical.

More often than not, the speakers forgets to tell us what the presentation is about … they just launch into the middle of it.

Or sometimes, they start with a big, long story … but we have no idea where it’s leading … sometimes, even at the end of it!

There’s a really simple way of thinking about the flow. It’s the secret to crafting really Read More …

This past week, I attended a “pitch” competition called “The Doghouse” at the Global Petroleum Show, in Calgary. It was for start-up companies to try their pitches in front of potential investors.

Five different companies on two consecutive days pitched their product or service to five potential investors. They were each evaluated and one winner was picked from each group. But here’s the kicker—each presentation could only be three minutes in length. They really had to have their acts together!

It was gratifying for me to see that the ones that followed the “tried and true” persuasive presentation structure won. They had done their homework and had specifically targeted their presentations to that particular investor audience. The others—not so much.

As I’ve helped take a number of well-known Canadian companies public (some of them are listed here), I sat in the audience, taking notes. I sent a short evaluation to each of the presenters afterwards by email to let them know what I thought they had done well and what they might do to improve their message. Read More …

ladypresentingI had a meeting with a client the other day to talk about an upcoming presentation. It was to be an hour-long “lunch and learn” for an energy industry, fortune 500, company. The objective was to get to the next meeting. By that, I mean that this was an introductory meeting about what my client could do to help this multinational corporation mitigate risk in their industry.

At the beginning of our discussion, my client suggested starting with a few slides about them and what they do. Then they were going to go into an explanation of their software and the problems it solved.

So here’s the problem with that: At the beginning of your presentation, nobody cares about you. Sorry, but that’s the truth. They care about themselves and their problem, or concerns.

It’s not about you, it’s about what you can do!

Read More …

One of most common dilemmas people have when they’re up against a presentation deadline is how to actually open it: “How do I structure the opening?”

Presentation opening for pipeline spill

Pipeline Spill

I have a client I’ve been working with the past couple of weeks who has taken the reigns as the business development partner in a company that services pipeline companies, but in a different way than you might think.

They provide software, expertise, and resources to help major pipeline companies mitigate the risk of ageing pipelines – you know, the ones underground that keep rupturing and devastating the environment around them. The software tracks the pipeline infrastructure and risk across the system so that the pipeline company can concentrate on preventive maintenance — honing in on the Read More …

I was asked to summarize a talk I  gave in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. So here goes!

There’s lots of angst when it comes to giving presentations. I often compare it to going to the dentist. The thought of it is often worse than the actual visit! We tend to take small amounts of anxiety and blow them up into much more mental trauma than they deserve.

We tend to concentrate on our upcoming performance first, without thinking about what we’re going to say. Or worse still, we call up the art department and book them for visuals before we’ve thought through what we’re actually going to use.

Well, here’s my take:

If your message is right, you truly believe in it, and you’re passionate about Read More …