Presentations: How To Captivate Your Audience

The life blood and oxygen for most businesses are the ideas that will drive its short and long term goals. If this is the most important aspect to a businesses future, then the delivery method should be just as important.

 The Art of Influence

Whether we like it or not presentations, verbal and written, are the means by which ideas get adopted and some don’t. So, if this is true, why do so many of us put together presentations that read like the features listed on the windshield of a brand new car? Well, we forget what got us buying the car in the 1st place.

Lets stick with car concept!

Buying a car is a very emotional purchase. Any car salesman will tell you that there’s 2 types of buyers; ones that already know what they want and those that are looking but are undecided.

For the salesman he has a 3 part presentation that leads you down a road where comfort, emotion and urgency are all utilized to have you take action.

So what does the salesman do first? He builds comfort. Would you like a drink, can we get you something to eat and so on. Then he starts to build a list of what you are looking for in a car (discovery).

The test drive is next. This is the emotional part of the presentation. Once you sit in that car, you are now in the experience part of the presentation. At this moment your defenses are down as he rattles off all the cool features of the car. Of course the experience has to be good!

Urgency tops off the  presentation with fulfilling the price you are requesting. “We can’t possibly sell this car at this price.” Let me talk to my manager. “You won’t believe we got the price you needed”. Magical, right? No, it’s a psychological GPS that’s designed to get you to a specific destination… a sale! Remember, the sale can not happen until you first create value.

 Amplify, Magnify and Intensify

I’m always amazed at how most presentations spend 90% discussing the features and benefits. For presentations to achieve a desired outcome, they must resonate with us emotionally and use features to validate the emotions.

Here’s a quote from Seth Godin that sums it up;

 “The problem is this: No spreadsheet, no bibliography and no list of resources is sufficient proof to someone who chooses not to believe. The skeptic will always find a reason, even if it’s one the rest of us don’t think is a good one. Relying too much on proof distracts you from the real mission-which is emotional connection.”

People react to things that make them comfortable and uncomfortable. Both are designed to get your attention and keep it.

Discovery is the foundational piece of your presentation. It lets your audience know that you have studied their needs, challenges and concerns. Which opens them up to the case you’re trying to build. It shows you care and it shows you’ve put effort into understanding them. Deep understanding of what makes your audience tick sets up the emotional triggers of your presentation. It’s the “test drive”!

The outcome we seek from our presentations are guided by a call to action. We present to change minds and inform.

In the book “Resonate” by Nancy Duarte, the audience consists of four distinct types of people capable of taking action: doers, suppliers, influencers and innovators

  •  The doer will respond by assembling, deciding, gathering, responding, or trying
  • The supplier will respond by acquiring, funding, providing resources or providing support
  • The influencer will respond by activating, adopting, empowering, or promoting
  • The innovator will respond by creating, discovering, inventing or pioneering

Make sure your presentation speaks to the diverse audience you will have, so your call to actions are responded to emotionally and rationally.

Work Hard, Work Smart & Stay Hungry!




“MJ takes a new and exciting approach on how to teach entrepreneurs.”

Daymond John
Co-host of ABC's, 'Shark Tank'

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