Watching MadMen’s Peggy Olson win the room over for fictitious advertising firm Sterling Cooper & Partners in the Burger Chef pitch meeting was inspiring and a great reminder that no matter what you are peddling, the story is what you are selling. You have to get into the minds of those you are presenting to and make a connection with them in a way that makes you and your presentation memorable and credible.
Looking for inspiration for your next presentation? Here are five ways you can add some Peggy Olson-style passion to your next presentation:
1) Outline your goals. What is the point of the presentation? What story do you want to tell? What action do you want the audience to take after hearing the story? Make sure you outline the point of the presentation and feel passionate about it. If you don’t believe in it, no one else will. Be clear about the story from the opening slide and be sure to summarize it again at the big close.
2) Find great visuals that will tell the story for you. Presenting is about connecting with your audience and selling them the story; not reading the text on the page. Remember to make time to find the right visuals that will help you tell the story without relying on the text. Even if what you are presenting isn’t as sexy as a consumer advertising campaign, it can still include eye popping artwork.
3) Research, prepare, and make sure you know your stuff inside and out. Practice with someone you trust (like Don Draper) to build confidence. Use this practice time to brainstorm ways to add more power to your story, create better bullet points, add catchier images, develop your “story “and practice, practice, practice. This can be in front of a friend or a mirror. And… after you finish all that practicing, write down a list of questions your audience may ask and prepare your answers.
4) Revise and Refine. Just like crafting an email pitch to the media and 140 character tweets, be a ruthless editor of slide text content. Does each slide count toward making your point or telling the story? If not, delete it, remove it and /or replace it with a slide that matters. The more noise you have, the less memorable the story. Make every slide count. Less is truly more.
5) Act the Part. Though your confidence may feel like it’s wavering on the inside, if you are prepared and passionate, you can overcome your nerves. Do some quick confidence boosting exercises beforehand. This will help control the anxiety and make sure your confidence shines through on the outside. Strike a power pose before you head out to present or take a minute to shut out the noise in the room and do some breathing exercises. Visualize yourself at your best and in control of the room, passionately delivering your presentation with a smile on your face.
Looking for more inspiration, check out these presentation resources that are sure to inspire creativity and confidence for your next presentation.
Top Ted Talks:
11 Presentation Lessons You Can Still Learn From Steve Jobs http://www.forbes.com/sites/carminegallo/2012/10/04/11-presentation-lessons-you-can-still-learn-from-steve-jobs/
5 Confidence-Building Tips from InkHouse Co-founder Beth Monaghan (via NPR)
Confidence Breeds Success -- And It Can Be Taught (via Forbes)
Have any other passionate presentation tips or resources to share? Please add them in the comments below.