Our Presentation is a Story by Mark Davis

Mark DavisHow will our audience describe our story tomorrow?

Let’s look forward in time to our audience’s conversation the day after our speech.

Imagine making a cup of coffee or getting a breath of fresh air at the morning break. A colleague comes up and starts this conversation:

What did you do yesterday?”

I listened to a presentation on public safety.”

How was it?”

Boring. Totally wasted 30 minutes of my life.”

Ouch. That isn’t the impression we want from our audience.

More examples of underwhelming next day conversations?

What did you do yesterday?”

I watched people do a lot of facials and skin treatments.”

How was it?”

Well, they were pushy and it seemed from the moment we sat down they were trying to get me to buy something.”

Or …

What did you do yesterday?”

I went to see an insurance broker.”

How was it?”

Boring. Too many facts and we left with so much information we couldn’t decide what to do.”

Or …

What did you do yesterday?”

I listened to a presentation from the head of the New Environmental Party.”

How was it?”

Well, I hope he doesn’t get elected. Never want to be that bored again.”

How about some examples of better conversations?

What did you do yesterday?”

I went to a business presentation in the city.”

How was it?”

Fantastic. They helped me save money on my electricity bill. They even had the paperwork ready to fill in. Saved a bunch. Will invest my savings in beer.”

Or …

What did you do yesterday?”

I went to a health and nutrition talk.”

How was it?”

Great. I bought three bottles of their Super Power. I am tired of feeling tired.”

Or …

What did you do yesterday?”

I went to buy a car!”

How was it?”

Great. The salesman asked my budget, got me to drive a couple test cars, and then worked on getting me a good price. I actually feel good about car salesmen now.”

Or …

What did you do yesterday?”

I went to a weight loss workshop.”

How was it?”

Nice. I learned how to lose weight by changing my breakfast. The good news is that I don’t have to join a gym! And I can invest my gym membership savings into more quilting supplies.”

What do we want our audience to remember?

Our story. People remember stories. Do we want our audience to remember a good story… or a bad story?

Well, the good news is that we can manage the story they remember, by controlling how we end our talk.

We don’t want our audience to remember or think:

* It was complicated and confusing.

* He was too slick, and all business. No heart.

* It never seemed to end. Too long!

* He cursed, using foul language repeatedly.

* There were 18 speakers and they all blended into one big blur.

* The coffee break was the best part of the speech.

* When the speaker turned his back, I ran for the exit.

* I just pretended to enjoy it, but it was bad. I couldn’t wait to get out of there.

PDF-2 Our Presentation is a Story by Mark Davis

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