Hello and welcome, thanks for joining us for this Webinar, “Your PowerPoint Sucks” – and what you can do about it. I’m Mark Gibson
The Webinar is split into three 10 minute chunks. Firstly to cover some of the basics in visual perception Secondly to introduce storytelling concepts And to use these in basic visual storytelling.
Today buyers don’t want or need your product or corporate presentations, they can get all of this and more in a couple of mouse clicks. They are vitally interested in the insights you can bring about their business, how they are doing vs their competition, and how others have used your products and services to achieve similar business goals and objectives.
The average PowerPoint slide has 40 words. If you stay awake though it you get a medal, Bullet hierarchy for sure, But not too small. Then there’s the dreaded build. A product image perhaps. Features and benefits of course And if you happen to be sitting in this presentation, at this point the pub is looking good and Oh, don’t leave any white space. It looks awfully familiar, even though it’s a spoof. Have a guess how much of this will be remembered 3 days from now?
But it doesn&apos;t have to be this way. I want to introduce you to a new way of presenting, using story Why do we present? Get some-one to Change – that’s my goal today. To have the audience interact with Presenter and the content What alternatives to a presentation? Conversation Demonstration Big picture discussion- visual confection Give a hand-out and lead a conversation referring to it I encourage you to think of an LCD as an image projector only. You tell the story You are the presentation Its you they came to see. In the visual, you are the mahout, the leader, but you have to get the rest of the organization to change (the elephant). Lets explore how
I want to introduce a few ideas on visual perception that could change how you present information.
But first I want to share a story with you. When I was a young salesman, I had been allocated a target account. I made a walk-in cold call and was introduced after a few minutes to the Managing Director. He was a crusty old boy, but a wily business man. After some persuasion, he agreed to come to our office for an hour and to have lunch and to sit through our presentation.The presentation went something like this - it was on 35mm slides and the curtains were closed and the lights dimmed.Slide 1 Agenda Slide 2 Bullets about us Slide 3 Map of the World Slide 4 customers, Slide 6 Introducing our wonderful minicomputer products - he was fading, head dipping down Slide 10 - he was gone - snoring, I stopped the presentation and he woke up and I apologized for boring him and putting him to sleep. He then thanked me for lunch, gave me 5 minutes on their business issues and discussed what they really needed - a better ledger system, this was 30 years ago and basic accounting software was still years away in his mind. My presentation sucked, It was all about me…and your’s does too if it follows the above format. A conversation is a better place to start a buyer-seller dialogue. And telling a story that relates to the buyer’s needs or issues is the best way to engage.
A picture is worth a thousand words. Americans viewing this Webinar will probably be feeling either a positive or negative emotion right now. You see pictures can tell stories without a voiceover and can invoke strong emotions. This picture tells the story of the outcome of the recent US presidential election. From brain science, we know that when experiences occur, the memory of the event is encoded, based on the sensory stimulus applied at the time. The more stimulus, the stronger the memory. This election galvanized tremendous emotional engagement…that’s why you might be feeling emotional right now. This webinar is about using pictures to tell stories. Why? Because our visual system is the strongest of the senses - over 50% of our brain is dedicated to processing visual information. Lets look at some scientific research to back this up
Researchers have know about the superiority of pictures over text for more than 100 years in fact there is a name for it PSE Simply put, the more visual an input becomes, the more likely it will be recognized and recalled. In one experiment subjects were exposed for 10 seconds to 2,500 images. They could recall 90% of the images after 3 days and after 1 year were able to recall an astonishing 63% of the images. Question: Have a guess how much text or oral information is remembered after 3 days?
Text + Oral presentations are way less efficient than pictures for retaining certain types of information. If information is presented orally, people remember about 10% after 3 days. Add a picture and that figure goes up to 65%. So how can we use this information to improve our interaction with prospects and customers…that is how can we create interactions with clients and colleagues that stick and will be remembered.?
Richard Mayer, Cognitive Psychologist, explored the link between multi-media exposure and learning. The principle is called Supra additive integration, the benefits of multisensory learning are greater than the sum of the parts. Multi-sensory presentations are the way to go. We Learn better from words and pictures than words alone We Learn better when corresponding words and pictures are presented simultaneously Learn better when corresponding words and pictures are close together vs far apart on page Learn better when extraneous material excluded Learn better from animation and narration than animation and on-screen txt This last point is interesting and points to the rise in popularity of hand-scribed video How else is memory affected by visual stimulus….well there are many and we don’t have time for all of them, but lets explore color.
The traffic light is a universal metaphor. We want to use these colors in our visual communication to convey universal meaning. If you look at any Whiteboard output from WhiteboardSelling and they have done more than 400 whiteboards for tech companies they use just 4 colors….they omit orange. I encourage you to use these colors to convey meaning
This is slightly off the visual topic, but there’s no where else to put these next couple of points, but they are highly relevant to our argument and come again from the book Brain Rules by John Medina. Presentations need to be carefully sequenced. We know that the attention span of the brain is about 10 minutes. To get someone to pay attention for 10 minutes you need a hook. You have about 30 seconds at the start of your meeting to hook the other person to pay attention for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, you need another 30 second hook to keep them to engaged for another 10 minutes. A hook is a story, preferably a story that is relevant to the conversation and that triggers emotions in the buyer. Finally for those analysts and product managers in the audience who love to quote facts.
An ounce of emotion outweighs a ton of facts People evaluate information analytical and make decisions emotionally. Emotions incite action, if you want people to change, you need to get them emotionally involved. One final point on the brain
Start your communication off with the big idea or gist of the conversation. The brain processes meaning before detail, so its better to establish why something is important in the mind of the listener before you deliver the what and the what before the how. With that primer on the brain, lets apply some of these ideas and explore storytelling.
Why story? We love listening to stories. Humans have been telling stories and have been enthralled by the power of stories since civilization began. Stories are the most powerful way of delivering information. The greatest stories of all time have been packaged and repeated through hundreds of illiterate generations. Telling a personal story at the outset of a meeting can be extremely effective in creating rapport and trust.…but who in our audience today starts a meeting with a personal story, could I take a quick poll please, just reply yes or no in the chat box.
Thousands of years of myth and legend have followed a similar form Its called the mono-myth, because across cultures and civilizations, people have used the same structure to frame and tell stories. The Hero with a Thousand faces is a serious literary work by Joseph Campbell and more suited for a classic scholar than an afternoon read for a salesperson wanting to learn more. Fortunately there is a ton of stuff on the Internet that has been derived from this original work. Do you know the form?
Its called The Hero’s Journey and it follows a fixed form, although not every story will follow the exact steps. The hero’s journey is also the story of personal growth, of conquest over our inner fears and the journey we as humans take to personal enlightenment and reaching our human potential. When someone tells a hero’s journey story, we become the hero, we make the journey with the hero, which is why this structure is so inspirational for audiences and appealing for directors. Hollywood has used the Hero’s Journey story structure for many years and there are multiple adaptions from the original Here with a Thousand Faces for screenwriters. One movie that nearly everyone knows sticks to the letter of the formula…do you what that is?
It’s Star Wars George Lucas was strongly influenced by Campbell’s ideas in creating Star Wars and they met and discussed the plot at length. It’s the story of Luke Skywaker, a spirited farm boy who answers the call for help, joins rebel forces to save Princess Lea from the evil Darth Vader and the galaxy from the evil death star. What inspires us about star wars and all movies that use this structure? Stories link one persons heart with another. Values, beliefs and norms become intertwined. Tell a story and people will be more receptive to your ideas. Just a word on the hero’s journey
The place to start your journey is with the buyer, not the product or service. The buyer is the hero in all sales stories, not the product, company or salesperson.…check your ego at the door if you want to tell stories and you have to go first Only by tuning into the buyers WIIFM antenna will your stories resonate with the buyer So lets use this presentation form to introduce basic storytelling.
Lets start by analyzing presentation form. We will use a sparkline to show the transition in our storytelling from the World as it is – the status-quo to the world as it could be. Every presentation and every story has a beginning, middle and an end. The story starts with the status quo. The first transition in the story is the call to adventure – how things could be. The story or presentation will then then transition between the two possibilities, to create tension and contrast and engage the emotions. During these transitions we will engage the buyer in conversation around their issues to discover their priorities and pain points and to outline our solution. The final transition is the call to action and the desired future state is attained.
Most stories follow the same basic form and I encourage to to use this one. Remember our opening slide/? This is the status quo – your presentation sucks, it’s how things are most places. It’s the World As Is. Notice that its also in B&W. We used a few slides and stories to set up the opening, get you emotionally engaged, BTW, the introduction to your presentation should not exceed 10% of the total time allotted.
The first turning point in the story is the Call to Adventure. Notice also that we switched from the old text heavy form of PowerPoint into a simple powerful visual image, metaphor and stories to make our points and its green, because green is goodness, it’s a go and the solution.
In the middle of the presentation we need to present contrasting information. The World as it is and the World as it could be. Emotions + contrast get engagement and they create bias for action.
There can be many steps in the middle, but contrast is important to juxtapose the AS IS against the AS IT COULD BE. We can create contrast by telling stories and using powerful word pictures to create emotional impact. We can create contrasting content using big pictures and simple images that convey meaning and we can contrast our delivery using our physiology or if we are on the phone, our volume, tonality and pace as well as the words we use.
The second turning point in the story is a Call to Action. This one is fairly self explanatory and it explains in a few words and pictures how we can help get you there. The first step is to create clarity in your value message, by aligning marketing messaging and sales conversations with buyer needs. We can then use the messaging in thought leading content on our Website to drive inbound lead generation, and of course in visual storytelling to engage buyers in story around their issues.
Finally we need to end the presentation by sharing results that others have achieved. Proof points are important
Finally, we cross the threshold and our idea is adopted through the organization. We encourage using next steps, starting with a meeting summary to capture the essence of your meeting, along with the completed visual confection to share your ideas and engage stakeholder; to move the buying group from concept to a proposal or statement of work and then to provide references prior to contract execution and finally to kick off a project with a new customer.
Let me tell you a story.
Once upon a time in a village far away there were two beautiful sisters, Truth and Story. One day they decided to have a contest to see who was the most popular of the two sisters. Truth went first and walked though the village, but not many people liked what they saw, most of the people went inside and shuttered their doors….only a few looked
Truth was very upset by this and she decided to take all of her clothes off and walk back through the town. This time all the doors closed tight and the windows were shuttered…nobody came to see her.
She was terribly distraught when she returned to her sister and was sobbing with shame. Her sister story told here to cheer up and try on her magnificent cape
So Truth walked back through the town wearing the beautiful cape of story and everyone came out to see her. She was so happy when she got back to her sister she wept with joy. Story then explained to her, that nobody like the truth, particularly the naked truth. But when you cloak truth in story you will always be popular.
Can you recognize these hand drawn images….what animal are they? The brain instantly knows they are lions, because the image of the lion is stored in our brain as complete object, no construction or interpretation is required. These images are between 30-40,000 yeas old, the earliest evidence of the culture of ice-age man and come from the Chauvet Cave in the South of France. Man has been using pictures to tell stories for a very long time and I would not be surprised if older images were found in future. In isolation they are recognized instantly
When given context they tell a story. There is no narrative to accompany the cave-art, but what do you think the story is that the artist is trying to tell? I suggest that it’s a lion hunt. Ice-age man is documenting the struggle for survival, competing with dangerous animals for survival in food chain. On the left you can see Bison and some sort of antelope. Can you see the Rhinocerous. So these are our earliest attempts at visual storytelling, but somewhere in the last 40,000 years we forgot how to do it and relied on machines to tell our stories! So where do we start?
Visual storytelling starts with the buyer. The goal is to engage the buyer in conversation around their issues and have your stuff – your capabilities and the value that using them creates in the buyers context – unfold naturally in conversation.
So how to construct a story? The starting point for my visual stories is with the buyer. Start by asking who the audience is for your story. What are their issues, what’s happening in their industry, with competition, in their company, anything you can find out about the audience that could be relevant and important to the buyer. Figure out why its important and what is important and their priorities. Understand what alternatives exist – what if they do nothing? How will that impact them? Remember doing nothing is where 70% of deals end up today, no decision. How can you help, specifically – how can they use your stuff. Why should they care? And finally why should they buy from you. If you brainstorm all of these questions out, you will have the basis for a story. But before you get to tell your visual story, yo have to engage the buyer.
We tell visual stories in the same way we tell stories in general. Starting with rapport and engagement, introducing the big idea, the GIST Then establishing the status quo and how things could be. The body follows the same presentation form as our sparkline drawing introducing the buyers issues and creating contrast, except this one is laid out vertically. Finally our resolution, proof points, call to action and next steps Lets put it into action.
Style is more important than substance when you first meet someone and mirroring is useful, but what do you say after you say hello? Empathy is a natural human emotion, but in our desensitized World of TV violence and life’s circumstance, it often eludes salespeople until they have been made aware of it.. It took me a very long time to figure this out and held back my selling career. The fastest way to develop trust is by sharing a story. A personal story about you and exposing your human self…not the master or mistress of the universe, super salesperson. Mie Bosworth, the famous sales trainer and author of Solution Selling and Customer Centric Selling, has quit both of those businesses because he believes so strongly that without storytelling and story-tending, there is no trust and without trust, there is no engagement and this is a major problem In selling today. His company is called Story Leaders btw and his new book is called “What Great Salespeople Do” What great salespeople do naturally is to tell stories and to tend stories with prospects and customers.
After establishing rapport and engagement we want to establish the status quo in the customers world. In our case, your presentations suck. Its important for the buyer to acknowledge this is the case and to get them engaged in conversation around whats holding them back
Next we want to introduce the World as it Could Be, - not specifically your products or solutions, but challenge the buyer with concepts and ideas they may not have thought about, around which you can build your case.
When we have outlined the World as it could be, we need to introduce the complications and engage the buyer in conversation about their problems, barriers to progress internal and external complications. Its important to get this stuff from the buyer, drill down on it, write it down and qualify it….prioritize it.
During the middle of the conversation we need to contrast the AS IS juxtaposed to AS IT COULD BE as we present our case. An important point I am making here is this. No metaphorical or borrowed interest photography. Buyers aren’t interested in esoterics or figuring out the hidden meaning in a plie of rocks, if you want to communicate clearly, use simple images that are easily recognized and the had drawn stuff is easy to draw and instantly recognized, it doesn’t have to be perfect.
Finally bring your story to a close with a resolution. How you solved the problem and in the process, you have introduced your products and services (in green) and captured their issues in red and the next steps in blue. By the way I used this exact whiteboard on a 3’* 2’ whiteboard at the recent HubSpot Inbound tradeshow in Boston and pitched people in the aisle as they came past. Total cost for the exhibit, $60.00. Impact, priceless as I was able to convey in 1-2 minutes a complex set of services and engage the buyer around their issues. Can you see how the combination of story and visual storytelling can help you connect more effectively with buyers? Can you see how you can move from a boring product centric PowerPoint presentation all about you and your company to a buyer- centric conversation where the buyer is the hero of the story? Can you see how by aligning sales and marketing messaging you can create clarity around the value of using your products and services? And how clear and aligned messaging can help you tell your story and help in salespeople overcome the dependence on PowerPoint and drive your revenue in the right direction? Then lets discuss next steps
Finally our visual storytelling concludes with a call to action. We can help you translate your PowerPoint into a simple, yet powerful and compelling visual story and help everyone on your team tell it.
This concludes our presentation. Reference material used in the presentation comes from: Brain Rules by John Mediana, Resonate and one day seminar by Nancy Duarte The Edward Tufte one day seminar and book series Thank you for your attention.
Your PowerPoint sucks Learn Visual Storytelling
Your PowerPoint Sucks
and what you can do about it
Visual Perception Basic Storytelling Visual Storytelling
Typical PowerPoint Slide
• If you stay awake through it, you get a medal
– Hierarchical bullets for sure
• But not too small so you can’t read them
• Then there’s the build!
• A product image perhaps ->
• Features and Benefits
• The pub is looking good!
• Don’t leave white space
Visual Story Telling
Start with the buyer
Role & Goals
Visual Story Telling
Who is Audience?
What are their issues?
Why is it important to them?
What alternatives exist?
How can you help - how can they use it?
Why should they care – what will they get?
Why should they buy from you?
Visual Storytelling Sequence
Engagement - Rapport
Status Quo - black
Call to Adventure - As it Could Be - green
Complications -pain in red
Body - Contrast
Resolution - Value - Proof Points
Call to Action - Next Steps
Visual Story Telling
Engagement – can I share a story?
I like this guy I like this guy
Visual Story Telling
Status Quo – Your Presentations Suck