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eir fa u lt it s y o u r s .

t li s te n in g , it s n o t t h
If the target audience isn Seth Godin

This handbook is not designed to make you better its designed to make you smarter.
Generally, presentations are so terrible simply because most people dont know any different.
From this point on, you are no longer most people.
Youre one of the elite.
Then the rest is up to you.

2015Missing Link (Padded Cell). All Rights Reserved.

Ah, presentations. Ah, not quite skydiving or full frontal nudity or a trip to New York or boating through
Venice or true loves first kiss or stuff blowing up are they? More like trimming toenails or waiting in traffic or
David Lynch movies or getting made love to in prison.
If we take the average presentation as the rule, rather than the exception (which is exactly what average
means), theyre a paint-drying waste of time to attend, and a stress inducing mess to create and deliver. In fact,
theyre probably one of the things youre most likely to ban outright, once you finally become President of the
World, correct? Pity

t i on s s h ou l d b e f u n.

presenta r e c e i ve.

to d e l i ve r, a n d to
s th i s b oo k l e t i s to r ead.
as m uc h f un a
We believe that if we can reset what you think you know and make you question some of the things you
accept as normal, you can then make the right decisions when you create presentations, rather than just doing
what Smith in Business Development did last week. Old Smitty in Bus Dev (and your boss, and your co-workers
and your subordinates) has set the presentation bar pretty damn low. Lets smash that bar, shall we?
Following this lil introduction, there are 8 things wed like you to consider when preparing any presentation.
Then the flaming torch of awesome is in your hands (or, you could call us).
- Consideration 1 -
know when NOT to present
A presentation should be as close to
I re me mber a sales guy who came into our of fic e on
a conversation as possible people ce to se ll us on
new internet (or something). He fli ppe d open his la
respond to being talked with, rather ptop, plugged in
and (pretty much ignoring the two of us in the room
) got crac king
than talked at. with his 60 sl ide presentation. I stoppe d him and as
ke d, Can you just
And sometimes the presentation gets te ll us what we get, for how much, and why you gu
ys are more
re liable? Lets just chat. He responde d with, If yo
in the way, rather than facilitating u can pl ease just
let me get through my sl ide deck, Im sure al l your
questions wi ll be
that conversation. answered appropriately. I responde d, in turn, by he
lping him through
the door. Dont be this guy.
Ask yourself some questions:
- Am I meeting with more than 3 people?
- Do those people all have different buying motives?
- Are there visuals or data that I need to show, that I cant do without a screen?
- Am I sure I wouldnt rather just talk to them?
If the answer to any of these is an honest no, then dont bother with
slides. Have a bit of a chat. Like people. Youll find that when they start
talking, they start buying. In a presentation, especially a sales
presentation, its the goal to get them to that point as fast as possible. So, if
you can, rather just start there. Shorter, more effective, human-driven
meetings are the way to go.

As an added bonus, now that you dont need to pull together this monster slide
deck for tomorrows meeting you can, with a clear conscience, get back to FIFA 2015. ]
- Consideration 2-
spam is always bad
In a can or in your email, nobody likes spam!
(the one exception to the rule being a Monte Python reference I fear will
lose many of you).
What is spam? With content, like with email, spam is stuff you didnt ask for, dont
need and definitely dont want. When it arrives in your inbox, you immediately
hit DELETE. When it happens in a presentation the audience switch the heck off.
The problem is one of relevance
the benefit of what youre presenting is not usually obvious to your audience.

Heres a quick thing to chew on: your audience are

the ones who hold the purse st rings, make the
decisions, put projects into motion and get to eithe
r agre e or disagree with you, the presenter.

So, who is a presentation real ly about? (Heres a hi

nt not you).

If you cant work out one or both of these two questions dont
You need to work out a few things: bother getting on stage. If you can, make sure you build the
- Why do they need to hear what youre saying entire presentation around the answers to these two points,
- How will this benefit them? coming back to them constantly, and youre going a long
way to making things happen in your favour.
- Consideration 3-
context beats content
Youve got the data. Youve got mounds of data. Piles of mounds of data that prove, beyond a shadow of a doubt that what youre
talking about is true! Awesome. Job done.
But, we wont get it. We dont know what the numbers mean.
Unfortunately, none of us (not even the actuaries) can either quantify or emotionally process lots of data And, being an emotional
species (we all cried in Love, Actually whether you admit it or not), we use those emotions more than our logic when we make
decisions. One more time: we make decisions using our feelings more than using our reason.

Pick which one of these two message works better for you:
1. We have a client attrition of 15%, resulting in R440m in shareholder value loss and risking the future growth of our business.
2. One out of every 6 clients is so unhappy with our service that theyre going elsewhere. In fact, we could build a new
Greenpoint Stadium every single month with the money were haemorrhaging.
We cant afford to keep our staff that means you at this rate.
The both say the same thing (technically), but the one is in a way you can understand on a deeper level it has context. You can
picture it. In fact, Id argue that the actual figure is far less important than what the figure means every time. Context beats
Al Gores An Inconvenient Truth changed the way the world saw the environment by making the numbers (which are not alone
scary) terrifyingly real for the viewer. Even Malcolm Gladwell and Steve Levett the kings of data know what their audiences
respond to, and use metaphors and stories so ensure their messages embed themselves in the minds of their listener.
So, if you want an audience to truly understand the gravity of your data, give it to them in a way that they can. Pick the big
figures and key messages, then find and use a comparison or a metaphor to better represent them in a way that people can hold
onto. Its easy with a little practice.
- Consideration 4-
get your flow on
How many presentations have you sat through where you were constantly asking yourself (or the poor bastard next to
you), What the heck is this even about, and why are we here?! The presenter is bouncing around his content more than
a fat child on a rickety schoolbus and you simply. Cant. Follow. And you certainly havent heard anything that makes
you give even the smallest shit.
We respond to stories. We read into the early hours of the morning on a school night, and borrow every episode of
Game of Thrones off the internet because we want to see where theyre going, and how they conclude. Were hooked.

These great stories share two things in common

1. They have a flow that engages you
2. They make you care ] If they dont,

Your presentation needs to feel like a story. It has to move logically, from one point to another taking your audience on a journey.
How do you do that? Heres a quick overview of one of the (many) potential ways to hook the audience, keep them hooked, reel them in, bash
them on the head, cook em in some olive oil and serve them to your guests - with their buy-in. This is also one of the most effective:
- Tell them why to care What I have to say is so gosh-darned important to you!
- Tell them why to believe My solution can make this happen for you better than anyone else!
- Tell them what theyre getting Here is just enough detail on what this involves, and why its amazing for you!
- Tell them what to do In order for this to happen, I need you to do this thing!

If those four points are left clearly in their minds in that order - youre onto something beautiful.

And theyll love you for it.

- Consideration 5-
people are not as smart as you think we is
You think humans have infinite capacity for information? You think that as long as youre talking, theyre listening? In
reality, were more like sieves than we are like sponges sieves with ADHD and more destructive technology than the
whole Terminator franchise.
We cant take in a whole lot at one time. And were very, very easily distracted. Squirrel.

Thanks to the serialised TV show (content, broken every 7 minutes by adverts), Twitter, mobile communication and the
speed of life in general, our brains are used to doing things quickly, before moving on to something else.
Think juvenile monkeys on a lot of sugar. Ive personally checked my mail thrice, Whatsapped four times and YouTubed
once - just while writing this page.

Traditional presentations no longer work. As you well know. Here are three ways to make them non-traditional:
1.Thin them out. Go through your content, and rate the different nodes of information based on importance.
Cut out anything that falls into the bottom of your tiering (be strong about this).
2.Keep them short. 20 minutes is the longest a presentation should be these days.
Even if this means that you dont fill your allocated time slot!
3.Break them up. Make sure that your story is divided into logical sections. Think sushi, rather than steak dinner.
Each break gives the audience a little reset, making sure they can pay attention for longer.

John Medina, author of Brain Rules, has proven that any audience needs to be reset at least every 10 minutes
when was the last time you considered that when delivering a presentation?
- Consideration 6-
visuals aid
When building your slides, remember those words. Visual. Aids. Thats what they are, actually aids to help the
audience visualise your content. They are not cue cards for you, nor a hymn sheet from which your audience can sing
along in unison with you. Which would be weird.
Have you ever tried to read a book while listening to the radio? Tried to have a conversation with your spouse while
checking Facebook? Tough, isnt it? And, in presentations, deadly. The text on the slides actually inhibits the ability to
listen to whats being said.
The word - content comes from your mouth, and goes into their ears. What the audience sees with their eyes - should be
a visual reflection of that content. Im not going to get into the science, but trust me here. If youre not going to use
pictures, dont even bother with the slides youll actually be better off without them.
Were not saying all text is bad. But you want about the amount that youd see in a newspaper headline, not War and
Peace chapter 4.

Break what you want to talk about into ideas, and find an image for each of those ideas.

Make your slides out of those images. Add just enough text to make it mean something.

P.S. Graphs count as visuals (as long as theyre simple), and can sometimes be the best visual possible.
You slides visually represent you and your content. No blurry, stretched images, and definitely no clip art!
Unless youre going back in time, and presenting the 90s, clip art is not a tool youre going to be using!
- Consideration 7-
presentations should move people
If youve read this far, you deserve this point. Because it is, by far, the most important. In fact, if your plane crashes in the snowy
tundra, and youre forced to burn this booklet to stay alive, keep this page stashed close to your chest. If you live, youll need it.
Ever read Simon Syneks Start with Why? Exactly. In this case, its the answer to Why am I doing this?.
And, no, because I was told to is not a valid answer
All pieces of communication adverts, articles and especially presentations are designed to create a response in the viewer.
Agree? In other words, to move them from where they are, to where you want them to be. But in order to achieve that,
you need to understand what that objective is. In our language we say that:
ssage, to ac hieve a resu lt.
t ive = to com m u n icate a m e
P res e ntat ion obj e c

Each and every one of these OBJECTIVES have a desired result,
The first part youve nailed.
upon which their success can be measured. More importantly, if
The second part you rarely (if ever) even consider.
you dont know what you want the audience to do once the
Now, these end results (objectives) are varied and abundant. presentation is concluded, I can guarantee that they wont. If you
Here are some examples: dont understand where youre going, how will you ever get there?
- I want them to buy-in to our plan, and give the go ahead !
for the next phase You really have to think this through. So, before you start prepping,
- I want them to see the value of our solution, so we can set write your objective out. Then question it. Then question it again.
up a meeting with the CEO The more specific you can make your objective the better your
- They need to understand how much trouble were in, so presentation will be. Then, design all your content around this
they can remove the constraints from our business unit understanding.
- Consideration 8-
process is good

Theres best practice for almost everything the optimal way to achieve the best possible result.
In presentations, weve helped to define these best practices.

Most people start prepping a presentation by opening up PowerPoint.

Wed prefer if you didnt Theres a process that will help you get the best result, in less
time, and make the whole deal a lot more enjoyable for you and your audience. So,
from now on, this is how you create a presentation.

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and l ets t-Its, a b e d to ach
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king. paper (or
Step 1: Write out your objective. Big. Challenge it. When youre happy with it, move on. Remember there are two parts what you want to communicate,
and what you want the audience to do.
Step 2: Grab your Post-Its, and write out (one thought per Post-It) what content you THINK could form a part of your presentation. We call this the idea
vomit stage where youre just trying to get it all out of your head and into a form you can work with. Once youre dry, move on.
Step 3: Lets cut stuff down. Look at all the Post-Ited ideas, and (with each one) ask yourself does this idea help me achieve my objective? If yes,
awesome. If no (and, really be honest here) scrunch it into a little ball and throw it across the office/plane/bathroom. This is how you reduce the amount
of spam and unnecessary information. And its fun!
Step 4: Get a flow going. Order your Post-Its into a logical, flowing story (are we having a great time, or what?!) based on Consideration 4. Then add some
metaphors and sub-stories. Add some flavour! Also, if new ideas pop into your head, pop em on a Post-It! And if an idea you thought youd need becomes
irrelevant, chuck it. This process is pretty fluid (the only thing that doesnt change is your objective).
Step 5: Talk yourself through the Post-Its work out what youre going to say at each point. Get the content in your head, as well as how youll deliver it. If
things feel hinky, or you struggle to get from one point to another, tweak the structure. Do this a few times, until it flows nicely, and youre feeling all

By this stage, your presentation is ready, and you should be happy to deliver it. In fact, if you had to do
it in 5 minutes, youre ready! Now we add make it stronger, by adding some visual aids. Visual. Aids.

Step 6: Finally! Time to open blasted PowerPoint! Build your slides around your structure. You know what you want to say, so find the best images off the
net (heard of Google?) and get them onto your slides. Add a little text just enough. Make sure it all looks professional, none of your images are distorted
or blurry. If you use clip art, I shall reach out of these pages and slap you. Also, make sure the text is big enough, and readable.
Step 7: Rehearse again. Talk (out loud) through your presentation with the slides, so you know where the changes happen, and how to segue between
Step 8: Go and be awesome!
Standing in front of a
group of people and talking
them into seeing your point of view is
not easy. Its a bit of art, a lot science, and
some gut instinct. The considerations above are
whats going to take you from everyone else to like
nobody else.Youre going to start having more fun,
and making more money.

d e

i s s im p ! y no
l d ow n si
The r e
That said, were never going to stop you from hiring us
to do this all for you. If you want any more
information, want to train your people (we do a
lot of that) or simply want to take the leap
from mediocre to monumental
get hold of us at the details


[Unless you fall flat on

your face of course.

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