The point of a presentation is to convince decision-makers to make a public commitment to whatever you're selling, according to G. Richard Shell and Mario Moussa, co-authors of the excellent book The Art of Woo. Here's how:
Rather than abstract concepts ("reduces costs," "increases productivity") use concrete, real-life examples that carry emotional heft with the audience ("saved ABC $1 million," "prevented XYZ from going bankrupt.")
If you don't really believe in yourself, your firm, and its offerings, you'll persuade nobody. And it's not enough to simply believe... it must be obvious to the audience that you're a true believer.
Humans use stories to order events so that they make sense to their daily lives. Your presentation should have a hero who overcomes obstacles to achieve a goal. BTW, the hero must be the customer, not you.
A presentation should cause an emotional shift from being "undecided" to being "certain." This is only possible if your presentation is relevant to your audience's work and life experiences.
If there's some mystery to your presentation, your audience will get involved solving it. So don't reveal everything up front, especially when you're telling a story. Let the story evolve into a meaningful ending.
Drawing parallels with the familiar helps the audience grasp complex ideas. Example: "Photolithography becomes problematic at 180nm." Or, in other words, "It's like trying to draw a blueprint with a hunk of chalk."
True decision-makers are quickly bored by ideas and information that they already understand. Instead, they crave opportunities to exercise their brainpower to learn something new and insightful.
When displaying data in a presentation, clarity matters above all else. Your audience has to get meaning from your numbers before you click away. This means you need to pick the right chart for the job. The most common charts in business are pies, bars, matrixes, and line graphs, which will serve different purposes depending on the data:
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