PAUSE - the silent opportunity of connecting with your audience
December 1, 2014
Women's March to Freedom
March 8, 2017
The "why" of your presentation: what is yours?
February 1, 2015
When you think about giving a presentation, what is the first thing you must ask yourself? I put this question to the group of delegates who recently attended my two-day presentation workshop in London. One said to have a “clear content,” another, “good structure” and a third, “strong delivery.”
And whilst all three are important, the WHY of a presentation has to be at the very heart of your message. What do I mean by the WHY of your presentation?
If I were to ask you what your presentation was about, my guess is you would say something like: it’s about Marketing, Accountancy or Sales depending on what topic you were communicating.
Everyone knows WHAT his or her presentation is about. But very few people know WHY they are sharing that presentation.
The WHY is the belief of your subject matter - the purpose that drives the structure of your content. Why are you really sharing this with us? Why should we adopt this message? What change do you hope we receive by taking on your idea? If you do not know this, I can guarantee you, neither will your audience. All they will hear is lots of information and not realise the true meaning behind your presentation. They will wonder why they should care, what your motives are and if they can trust you?
Your audience is looking for a reason to change. However, only with a clear vision that captures their hearts and stimulates their minds will they choose to cross over from their world of thinking into yours. Your job is to help them see a new perspective and give them a powerful reason to make this journey. It may not be an easy voyage but when they do decide to cross over, led by the hand of your strong WHY, they will recognise that this was motivated not by the result (money) but by a genuine belief in your idea, product or service.
The late Steve Jobs was brilliant at living, breathing and connecting with his WHY. He stood out from his competitors, not because he had access to a different pool of talent, technology or consultancy agency. He stood out because he understood the power of the WHY - because he was so strongly connected with his WHY.
Apple did not invent the mp3-player. They did not even invent the technology that became the iPod, yet they were credited with transforming the music industry in the way people buy and listen to music. Creative Technology Ltd. based in Singapore was the brains behind the invention of the multi-gigabyte portable hard drive music player.
The only difference was how they presented their message.
Creative sold the WHAT message of their product: “5GB mp3-player.” It did not grab our attention or help us understand the reason for buying this product. Apple sold the WHY message of the product: “1,000 songs in your pocket.” We got it immediately and understood why it would make a big difference to our music experience.
Apple has always understood the WHY. They challenged the conventional thinking within the computer industry with a clear WHY before giving us their WHAT. It is what sets them apart from their competitors.
“Everything we do, we believe in challenging the status quo, we believe in thinking differently. The way we challenge the status quo is by making our products beautifully designed, simple to use and user friendly. We just happen to make great computers. Do you want to buy one?”
The goal of your presentation is not to sell WHAT you do. The goal of your presentation is to share WHY you do it.
Why? Because when you do this, the presentation no longer becomes about you. It becomes about your audience. As they open up, transform and adopt your idea they will not only take personal action but will be ambassadors of your message.
Who better knew this, communicated this and inspired thousands by living his message than the man who had a dream – Martin Luther King?