no one cares about your company’s history

I’m sure you’ve had this happen to you.

Someone is making a sales pitch or educational presentation to you. They need your attention. Then as they begin, they say…

but before we get started let me tell you a little about our company. It was founded by Joe Whatsisname back in 1923. We merged with Whatsicallit Corp in 1934. The new company decided…

And on it goes for the next several slides and minutes.

Why lead with this?

It’s the equivalent of pulling out slides of your parent’s trip to the Grand Canyon when visitors enter your front door. It’s only mildly interesting to the person presenting. It’s sheer boredom to the audience and the potential customer.

But you might say they need to know the history of the company so they can see our longevity in the market and make an informed purchase decision…

Okay. Then in the first 5 minutes of your next job interview, tell the interviewer about the writing award you got in 7th grade.

It falls back to one of my fundamental precepts of marketing and communication. Approach all communication from the audience’s perception, not yours.

Tell them things they care about and want to know, not what you (or corporate) want to tell them.

Apprentice ppt

Here’s a Columbo “oh yeah, one more thing” post….

While at lunch, I remembered there was another point I wanted to make in my Apprentice Marketing post. (I need to start taking notes while watching TV)

Point 4) – If you have nothing to say…then say nothing. Don’t create a Powerpoint to convey that nothingness.

Not that I would ever wish to be Donald Trump…but while sitting in numerous bad Powerpoint presentations, I have wished for the ability he showed last night to tell the bad presenter…”Is this really necessary?…Just sit down!”

A much more effective communication strategy was shown by the other team with the simple prop of the baby carriage…(after all, Charmaine is a WKU Communications grad.)

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Reading Along with Powerpoint

When I speak, there are always several variants of the following comment on the evaluation/feedback forms…

“would have liked handouts of your slides”

If you just want to sit and read my slides, I’ll e-mail them to you. That way, neither one of us will have to leave home. I will NEVER handout copies of the Powerpoint during one of my presentations. If I’m doing my job correctly, the slides should make no sense to you without my accompanying speech.

I do provide handouts. I always provide a broad outline of the presentation so participants can follow along, know where we are, and take notes. I really like to give handouts of “bonus material”…extra info/tools that are related to the topic that folks can take home and use.

The sad thing is that people have started to accept bad Powerpoint as “the way it’s supposed to be”. I may have to start giving a Powerpoint slide disclaimer prior to speaking.

LINKS::
Seth Godin’s “Really Bad Powerpoint” e-book
Presentation Zen is a great blog about presentations
Powerpoint post from Guy Kawasaki

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