Firstly, I suppose I should say there is no “normal”, a sales presentation differs from a Keynote, this differs from an after-dinner speech, and this is different again from a motivational talk. What unites them all is an understanding of the audience, and what’s in it for them.
However, that’s a very incomplete answer so, allow me to share something of a little more use for your business presentations…
Many TED talks I have watched use quite a specific structure…
• Shocking opener
• Personal Story
• A bit of detail
• Link back to personal story
• Idea worth spreading
Whilst this structure is specific for TEDx presenters, it’s quite possible to apply this to your business PowerPoint presentation designs, and this is how…
As I say in my book, (apologies for the blatant plug!) any presentation needs to start with something that really grabs the audience’s attention. Watch almost any TED Talk and you’ll see what I mean.
The thing to consider though, is that TED talks generally focus on extremely (non-business) thought provoking topics… so your presentation needs to find a suitable business angle to grab your audience’s attention immediately.
In my book, I took inspiration from Graham Davies rather excellent book, The Presentation Coach (imitation, with suitable attribution, is the sincerest form of flattery). Graham suggests that there are three elements to any presentation opening…
1. Establish the speaker’s credibility
2. Make the benefit to the audience crystal clear
3. Use an attention-grabbing statement
TED presenters have the luxury of existing credibility and the audience’s benefit is taken as read, all they need to do is be audacious in their opening real-world statement. As a business presenter, you need to state your credibility and benefit more explicitly.
The TED presenter will tell a personal story which might not immediately be connected to the opening. But it will usually be very personal. Growing up with a sister who suffered from …. Seeing my father bought down by …. A bit of tragedy seems all too often to creep in here.
A business presenter might not want to make things too personal… it really depends on how well you know your audience. If you are unsure of what tone to take, then Eyeful’s free Presentation Healthcheck service will provide you with an Audience Heatmap profile which helps you to analyse where your audience sit in terms of their visionary, factual and emotional bias…
A bit of detail
Now it’s time for the science – the clever stuff. In this section, you even get to brag a little. The important thing here is that although you know enough to fill several encyclopaedias, you just need to include the bits that the audience needs in order to understand what you’re talking about.
This advice applies to all presenters, TED or business…
Consider how long you have to present, this must be the driving factor that helps you filter out the noise and deliver only the key facts that will inspire your audience most…
Link back to personal story
This is where the audience should have the ‘Ah Ha! Moment’. Tie it all together and make the audience understand why you personally care so much about this topic. How does it affect your story? And how does it affect your business audience?
Idea worth spreading
This is the point of any TED talk. The presenter tells the audience the idea they want to spread and – by now – they should understand why it matters.
For the disconcerting business presenter, this is the call to action. This is your chance to tell your audience in crystal clarity what they now need to do to ensure they benefit from your solution and your presentation achieves your objectives.
If you’re not sure it will work for your business presentation, fret not. Myself and the other consultants at Eyeful have an understanding of presentation structure that can make any presentation successful. Just get in touch and let’s chat about your next important presentation…
Richard Tierney is a senior presentation consultant for Eyeful Presentations in the UK.
Richard supports some of the UK’s biggest brands through Eyeful’s Presentation Optimisation TM process, ensuring they deliver the best possible presentation experience.
You can contact Richard on 01455 826390 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org