It seems that every minute of every day we are bombarded with information. Technology has allowed the flow of facts to happen at hyper-speed and we are often left feeling overloaded. It is no wonder that people often leave a conference, presentation or day of meetings shaking their head. They simply can’t absorb it all, let alone act on it in a meaningful way.
The goal of any presenter is for their audience to remember the information they set out to convey. If the important point is remembered after attendees walk out the door of the presentation, that qualifies for a check in the “win” column. What often happens is that the presenter arranges all of their facts and figures and then tries to share them with the listener in a logical fashion, thinking this is the best way to help them remember the point of their talk. Yet there are multiple studies citing people’s lack of retention of information. As little as 10% right after they hear the presentation: It is no wonder that we struggle!
The answer lies in HOW information is shared. Let’s get their attention and peak their interest in what we are saying. How do we do that? The best method is to present a story that illustrates your point. I know you’ve heard this before, but telling a story helps your audience remember the point you are trying to make. For example, I could be speaking about connecting with your audience as I often do. If I simply list the reasons why you need to connect with your audience, I am indeed not connecting with MY audience!
What if, instead of reciting a mindless list, I told a story of a presentation that I gave that totally missed the mark: I had spent quite a bit of time preparing my slides and making sure I covered all of the key operational specifications of the product and I delivered it all flawlessly during the presentation. I even gave my boss a high five after the potential client left. I knew I had done well.
But we didn’t get the order. They weren’t convinced that our solution was the right one for them. I had remembered all of the information, but I had forgotten one thing: the client! It turns out that the people I was presenting to didn’t want to know about all the features, they wanted to know how those features were going to impact their operations, solve their problems and allow them to deliver a better service to their end customer.
I didn’t connect with my audience at all. I had spent all of my time perfecting my presentation when I should have been researching who I was presenting to and learning what their key problems were. Then I could have really positioned my product to be the best solution for their situation!
Sharing a story like this helps MY audience experience what I am talking about and feel the impact of my missed connection on an emotional level. It is much more memorable for them and they will be able to remember my main point, which should in turn help them effectively convey their point to their audience.
And that is the point!