How can this image change the way you present?


Lots of people know what they should do. They know what they should do to lose weight, they know what they should do to retire comfortably or that know that they should give up smoking…and I sure they know what they should do to do that. In fact, on a day to day basis, whether personal or business, none of us seems to be short of knowledge about what we should do, so why can some people do these things and other not?

What is the reason some people can do things, often very tiring things or very difficult things, even some very simple things and others don’t do them? I am sure we all know what the difference is: motivation! See, we even know this but for those of us struggling to get some things done, knowing motivation is the source doesn’t help us get motivated, it just gives us a reason to beat ourselves up!

So what is the source of motivation? What is it that has someone give up smoking or lose 20Kgs or work 12 hours a day or run a marathon? It's very simple: they have a different relationship to what needs to be done because they have a more powerful relationship to “why” they are doing it.

Now, I'm not trying to simplify the entire theory of motivation here. Far greater minds than mine have applied themselves to that question, what I am saying is that all motivation is the “why” we do anything. I do assert the more powerful someone holds a why, the more likely they are to take a course of action. The more personal it is, usually the more powerful it is. Think about anything to do with your children, a very powerful “Why” to do a whole range of things and also very personal. “Why” are some people strict on eating certain types of foods? Because they believe what they eat impacts their quality of life and the degree to which they believe this, and the degree they feel a good quality of life is important, will impact their motivation. The stronger the belief in the Why, the more they will act consistent with that.

Why (excuse the intended pun) do I raise this in the context of presentations? Because too often in presentations people spend a lot of time on the what but spend no time on the why.  People will not buy into the what, where, how or who until the “Buy the Why”.

So, the next time you are presenting, do the following:

  1.  Ensure you talk about why this presentation is important: What is before the people in the room now that needs to be discussed during the presentation.
  2. Why is it important that a decision be reached now?
  3. For every part of your what, where, who, etc…precede it with a why you need to do this.
  4. Make the ‘why” as personal as possible.

I saw the billboard in the image above when I was walking through Singapore a few years ago. I still believe it’s a brilliant example of how 'why' can impact knowing. In this case it brings a potent ‘why’ to the increase in bus numbers and changes it from a statistic to a reason. Next time you are presenting something that is about "knowing" ensure you include the reason why that is important.

If you would like any more information on how to make a brilliant presentation, beautifully designed, check out our Web Site at We can design a presentation for you or train you and your staff in how to do it yourself.


Why An Audience Won’t Take Action

October 7, 2016

Most (but not all) business presentations are about having people take action - getting them to do something after the presentation.  Things like buy your product, approve your project, give you a pay rise or promotion, all sorts of things.  If that is the case, then you need to consider what will stimulate them to say ‘yes’.

Now, this blog is filled with discussion on that topic but today, I am taking a different approach …why won’t they take action?  Well, there are 6 main categories, against which you will need to develop your content and structure from:

  1. It’s not in their self-interest: “If we adopt this proposal, you will all be retrenched” is not an argument that will win support, anywhere (well, unless the retrenchment package is very attractive). If you are seeking approval for works against the audience’s self-interest, it’s unlikely to gain approval.  If this is what you are proposing, you will need to somehow, reframe your request, if possible.
  2. They don’t understand you: If your presentation content can’t be followed by your audience, they won’t say yes. Human nature tells us when people are unsure they will always opt for the status quo. So, make sure the narrative of your presentation can be followed by the audience.
  3. They don’t believe you: This is so often overlooked in many presentations: how do I ensure the audience will believe what I say? There are a number of ways to ensure this and the more of these three things you have, the more people will believe you:

    1. Make sure you have plenty of credible, understandable evidence of your points.
    2. Establish yourself as a credible expert in the area that knows way more than they do about this topic.
    3. Get the support of others who know this subject and/or have testimonials from people supporting what you say.
  4. They don’t know what to do next: You have no idea how many presenters don’t make it easy for the audience to take action. It can be very simple: tell them what the next steps involve.  Sometimes it’s as simple as saying “So, in order to move this forward, we just need you to fill and sign this form…” or “Our engagement process looks like this…”.
  5. They haven’t bought your value proposition: Quite simply, they don’t consider what they receive is worth more than what they need to give up in exchange. They think it’s too expensive…but we are not just talking buyer’s here. Management decisions, for example, could be that the perceived risks don’t outweigh the reward.  You need to consider what you are offering against what they are wanting in exchange and ensure, to them, it looks attractive.
  6. They don’t have the money/not in the budget: This can be a slippery one. There are generally 2 main scenarios here.

    1. Sometimes it’s a way of communicating, in a nice way, any of the previous 5 points. In other words, they aren’t telling you the real reason.
    2. They literally don’t have the money. Everybody wants a Ferrari but most people don’t have the money.  If in the case they had the money they would genuinely proceed, it’s your job to help them find it!

So, next time you are preparing your presentation, look at the content and structure against these 6 key areas.

Getting to Go: a Webcast Interview – Getting People to Take Action from a Presentation or Webinar

August 19, 2016
Last week I had the pleasure of being interviewed by Sara Gonzalez at Redback Conferencing in a webcast on presentations and webinars.  It focuses on how to get people to take action, something that most people aspire to do with a presentation.  I hope you enjoy watching it as much as I enjoyed doing it.