Today I was lucky enough to attend a presentation by advertising and pitching guru Mike Morrison. He gave a fantastic presentation at my office about how to succeed at pitching. Although the content was very insightful I found the greatest takeaways were from his presentation style. Here they are:
1. Pause between points
Sounds simple, feels weird. Don’t just take a breath – pause for a second or two between key points. This allows your audience to not only hear your point but also comprehend what you’re going on about.
2. End your presentation 20% earlier than originally scheduled.
Time is short. Everyone (including clients) have a bajillion things to do – sometimes work related, sometimes not. Give the people you are presenting to some time back. This will be greatly appreciated and potentially impress. This also plays into the old tip of ‘Leave’em wanting more’ practiced by great filmmakers like the Coen Brothers but ignored by James Cameron.
3. Swear every now and then
Mike has a bit of Brian Brown about him. His swagger and experience informs everything he says but there is nothing like a good old fashioned ‘Fuck’ to get your attention and highlight a critical point.
4. Use anecdotes to highlight your points
‘Storytelling’ is thrown around a lot at the moment. I’m not sure if it is the coming of age of Social or the fragmenting of the media landscape but to me, true storytelling, comes from the desire to entertain, inform or persuade. Mike’s stories did all three and perfectly highlighted his presentation points. Anecdotes engage an audience and turn the most technical or philosophical point into something that can be more easily understood.
5. Keep it simple – every point should have a tag line and don’t be afraid to repeat it. Keep it simple.
‘Passion beats PowerPoint’ was one of my favourites and when a tag line is that good punters don’t mind hearing it a few times. Repeated messages sink in and aid retention. Why else would we shop at Coles?
Ultimately, passion carried this particular presentation. Mike obviously knows his stuff and this was evident by his confidence, dancing through his deck, cherry picking the particular slides he wanted to talk about.
Most importantly there were no high resolution full frame photos that resembled a Windows XP screensaver. Equally, there were no 1990′s clip art. There were no videos that required the presenter to minimise PowerPoint and then play the clips in YouTube (invariably resulting in sluggish playback and ads pooping up). There were just tag lines and yes, like Apple, they were on black backgrounds.
- Robert McKee: Persuasion through storytelling trumps statistics (presentationzen.com)
- Music Industry Quick Tips (about.com)
- Always Leave’em Wanting More (Aarhus University)