“What’s the story?” I asked Alexi, who manages Elevation Partners, our creative agency that’s focused on food and beverage, restaurant, and retail branding, social media, and campaigns. It’s a common question I ask our teams when going through the different presentations we show other team members, clients, partners, and even interns. I’ve always hated boring and pointless presentations, especially when they’re so long, that I told myself that I don’t want to put anyone through the same torture and don’t want any of our guys doing so as well.
We value our clients, we love our teams and our partners, and we want our interns to have a rewarding experience. Why would we want to eat up their time listening to something so boring and uninteresting and so unmemorable that no one retains much?
So we force ourselves to ask these two questions before we start working on the actual presentations:
- What’s the story?
- Why should I care?
Both questions are not unique to us. The best books and articles and presentations stress on the importance of these two things. Despite the wealth of material on presenting effectively, I still find myself having to sit through presentations that seem like they’ve made it their goal to break all the best practices. So go grab a book (such as The Presentation Secrets of Steve Jobs or check out this slideshare) and apply what you learn.
I’ve found that people do want to listen. We do want to learn. But we want to be engaged. We want to be inspired, even entertained at times. We want to be led, led into a story of possibilities, of relevance, of coherence, and depth.
So, Mr./Ms. Presenter, lead us there.