Ah the eighties. A great decade for music, parachute pants and PowerPoint! Launched in 1987, PowerPoint revolutionized the way we pitch to clients and speak to audiences. PowerPoint is still going strong 40 years later, but in order to better connect with modern audiences they’ve adapted their style with design tips, sharing options, mobile access, etc. Have you adapted your style as well? If your presentation is stuck in the eighties, it is as ineffective as trying to stream music on your Sony Walkman.
Even if you weren’t around in the eighties, the odds are you may be using old-school presentation techniques that have been handed down from generation to generation. How do you know if your presentation is stuck in the eighties? Check the following 7 signs below and follow the tips to modernize your presentation.
7 Signs your Presentation is Stuck in the Eighties
1. “Let me tell you about my company…”
Starting off with a company overview slide is the equivalent of showing up in a Member’s Only jacket and legwarmers; nothing screams The Eighties louder. While this made sense up to the early 2000’s when buyers lacked ready access to information on vendors, that’s certainly no longer the case. Today’s buyers are well-educated and mid-way through the buying process by the time most salespeople get in front of them. To start back at square one both squanders valuable real estate and causes early tune out. Sure, there are key points about your company you want to highlight for your audience, and there’s a place for that, but it is not in the first few minutes of your presentation.
2. Saving the best for last
Today’s buyers are short on time and attention. They want you to get to the point…fast. So how long does it take you to get to what your customer is really interested in? 5 minutes…10 minutes…thirty? Turns out, that’s too late. According to a study done by Gong.io, “following a linear path or going through a series of workflows before getting to the end result is an unsuccessful approach.” What does work? Starting with the end result, in other words, doing the last thing first, a key concept of the Great Demo! methodology that applies equally effectively to presentations and pitches.
3. Long monologues that go on, and on, and on…
The days of sitting and listening to someone talk non-stop for more than 5 minutes went out with Cabbage Patch dolls. Interaction is the name of the game in 2020. One-sided monologues are best reserved for the theater as they bore buyers and cause tune out. But don’t just allow interaction by throwing out the occasional “any questions?” Modernize your presentation by planning for an actual conversation that keep’s buyers engaged by breaking your presentation into snack size pieces. Read how here.
4. Death by bullet points
Bullet points are a stubborn holdover from PowerPoints early use that continues to rear its ugly head. My advice? No more than 5 bullet points (it’s the max we’re likely to remember) with 6-8 words each. If you have more, consider breaking them up into individual slides or use a handout.
5. Lazy endings
When PowerPoint first came out, presenters just dumped everything on a slide. This included things that were obviously unnecessary, like the obligatory last slide with a giant question mark, or “thank you!” Not only does this ending not differentiate you from the crowd, it misses a golden opportunity to reinforce your key message. Instead, end your presentation where you started – with your key idea. And summarize what you want them to remember.
6. One size fits all
In 1980 Nike had 200 different types of sneakers. Say you didn’t like the color but liked the fit, well, you just had to compromise. Today you can buy any one of 475 Nike sneakers, OR you can create your very own design customizing various elements – which expands the number exponentially. Therefore it’s no surprise that today’s customers expect a custom experience – whether they’re investing in a pair of shoes, a car, or a complex solution. In this “I’ll have it my way” market, generic presentations don’t stand a chance. Tailor your presentation in meaningful ways to avoid being instantly labeled out of touch.
7. Reading from your slides
You knew this was coming, right? Modern presenters integrate their deck smoothly and naturally into their delivery. Slides are used to support their message, not serve as notes or convey an overwhelming amount of information.
If you want to win over today’s modern buyers you need to present to them in a modern way. Want more tips on how to connect, engage and inspire audiences every time? Sign up for my blog.
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