- You climbed Everest, broke your leg near the top, were left for dead by the other members of your party and somehow dragged yourself down the mountain, living to tell your tale… between mains and dessert at countless events that you’re now asked to speak at.
- You wrote a self-help book that sold half a million copies and now travel the globe, doing keynotes on your book’s major themes, distilling key messages into a killer 45-minute, motivational event for hundreds at a time.
- You work in the HR department and you have a 15-minute spot at your bi-annual roadshow, outlining how the organisation is tracking with the rollout of a new payroll database.
Each of these is a different kind of presentation, requiring different skills and approaches. It’s like TV – there are sit-comes, lifestyle shows, the news etc. Only the last example is a business presentation.
How are business presentations different?
So, what do business presentations need to be good? What makes them different from an after-dinner keynote, a Ted style talk or a university lecture?
In my view it’s one key thing – the importance of information, and what you need to do with it.
We can talk all day about presenters engaging with and connecting to groups, but at the end of the day, all that engaging and connecting has to flow back to what you’re presenting about. Your actual point. In business there’s always a point.
If you accept that in business the point is king, you have one problem. A problem that has fuelled thousands of training courses, articles, blogs and posts. Delivered on its own, information can be dry and boring for audiences.
That’s why you need to wrap it!
“Wrapping up” well-constructed points with other presenting approaches makes them more engaging, memorable and motivating. Audiences will not only know and remember new things, they’ll have had an emotional and personal experience as well.
There are two general strategies the Point Wrapping process focuses on:
- Emotional wrapping, fostering empathy, curiosity, passionate support etc.
- Real-life wrapping, fostering personal identification, connection and reflection with the real world of work etc.
The Point Wrapping System
The system couldn’t be simpler:
1: Structure your content to create a narrative flow of points, each of which won’t exceed normal human attention span – i.e. 3 minutes.
2: In between each point, insert one, or both, of the two wrapping strategies.
Here’s a short, completely generic example, ready for any work-related subject you like:
- Emotion: Start with a couple of big, rhetorical questions that focus the audience on the theme of your presentation
- Point 1: Introduce key theme, your objective, etc
- Real-Life: Unpack a before-and-after set of photos that reveal (a) the issue that needs to be addressed, and (b) where change has already successfully occurred.
- Emotion: Set up next point by sharing a quick, 20 second personal point of view. Something truly vulnerable and straight from the heart.
- Point 2: Delve into the first essential aspect of your overall topic.
- Real-Life: Outline a case study that validates the point you’ve been making.
- Point 3: Delve into the first essential aspect of your overall topic.
- Real-life: Show some stats that back up what you’re saying
The presentation continues in this fashion until the end, which is commonly the same as how you began – with something emotional.
Making great points
Constructing effective points is really important, and as simple as the wrapping process itself. My recommendation is, as I have said, to not exceed 3 minutes, so you need to get it right. I use what I call the four T’s:
- Title: Introduce what you’re talking about
- Titillate: Do something to get the audience ready to study what you’re about to say. Focus on the WHY factor
- Talk: Take the audience through the guts of your point. Focus on the WHAT/HOW factor
- Tether: Repeat key messages, so that you tether these messages to the audience’s memory
Every presentation tip, hint or trick will fit into one, or both, of the Point Wrapping strategies. There’s just a few suggestions I have in regards to ensuring you never lose your audience:
- Variety beats a lack of variety. Vary up your approaches across a presentation. If possible, avoid repeating strategies at all.
- If you do repeat strategies – e.g. telling anecdotes – vary up how you tell them. Make one short and the other long. Make one a technical example and the other an emotional story.
- Make your emotional stuff short – always aim to “get in and get out” quickly, like a commando raid. Emotions disappear as quickly as they arrive. Create them and then move on to your point.
- Make your real-life stuff short too – no longer than the point you’ve just made. Stories and case studies can drag and/or become your focus. Remember that we use them to reinforce and prove our point. Stay on track, keep your word count low and you’ll do just that.
- Be 3 presenters – the motivational you for emotional sections, the teacher you for covering your information/point, and the more relaxed, informal authentic you for your real-life sections. This will be more interesting for your audience, and your physical choices will be more in sync with your presentation design choices. You will literally live and breath your message!
Speed up, be better
Point Wrapping literally gives you a set of presentation design and delivery boxes to fill. I’ve seen groups I’ve trained or coached come up with a complete presentation structure in under 15 minutes, right down to a logical series of structured points and selected wrapping strategies. From there, I encourage them to find the words “on the floor”.
It’s a simple, effective system for busy business people who don’t present every day, or even for the ones that do!
Point Wrapping is the conception of Derek Consulting. Derek offers coaching and training in this brand new, fresh reboot to how to be a great business presenter in hours, not weeks.