Your top priority as a presenter is to build a vivid idea in the mind of your audience. Make them see and feel your vision in a way that engages them and compels them to want more.
But, in every one of our interactions, each of us brings our own unique perception of the world; a complex web of experiences, memories and prejudices (both positive and negative) which shapes our view of the environment around us. This can make it really challenging to communicate to a diverse audience, with each of them hearing a slightly different version of your idea through the lens of their own world-view.
So, in a room full of potential clients who each bring different experiences, problems and challenges to solve, how can you possibly reach them all?
No matter the audience or the subject you’re discussing, the key principles of expressing your idea remain the same:
Focus on one great idea. We are all immersed in our own work and our own world-view. When offered the opportunity to present an idea, it can be all-too-easy to try to incorporate too much and allow your message to get muddled. Focus on one clear idea that you’re most passionate about. Give it context. Provide examples and make it real in the mind of your audience. It does not need to be revolutionary. It just needs to provide a foundation for your presentation and be expressed in a way that is concise and authentic.
Give them a reason to care. Have you ever gone to see a band play live and watched, bored and disappointed as they played endless jams and solos instead of any of the songs you actually know and love? This is the same mistake presenters often make when speaking about their ideas. Because, of course, your idea (like your favourite band’s gig) is about the audience not you. Ask them questions.
Make them curious. Invite them on a journey to explore your great idea together.
Use familiar concepts. Put yourself in the shoes of your audience and use language and concepts that will appeal to them. What challenges are they trying to overcome? What language is familiar to them? Think about what metaphors might be particularly powerful to them when expressing your idea. For instance, how many times have you heard someone describe a new venture as being like the Uber or the AirBnb of some other industry? This method works because it starts with an idea in a metaphor that the audience already understands. You can exploit those existing links in your audience’s world-view to make them connect with your idea.
Make your idea worth sharing. This is the crucial difference between a sales pitch and an inspirational presentation. If your idea benefits you and your business but doesn’t benefit your clients, it’s not an idea worth sharing with them. Take the time to reflect honestly on the idea that you are sharing and ask yourself “why”. Why is this idea important to my clients? Why is it valuable to them? Why would they want to know more? Think of your great idea as a gift that you can offer to your audience and make sure that it is something they want or need.
We spend more than half of our lives listening but, it’s said, that most people retain only about 20% of what they hear. Make your great idea one that they’ll remember. Ask us how.
Join us for NOTION_pro’s speaker coaching series to learn how you can express your best ideas in presentations that captivate, compel and inspire.