Stories to grab attentions

HBR published a nice and crisp (3 minutes long) video podcast on effective presentations.

It starts by emphasizing the importance of the right story to grab the attention. Generic but time tested concepts:

  • Stranger in a strange land: when you/your company/your team is facing a new (competitive) landscape
  • Revenge: let’s beat the competition!
  • Love story: a new product launchesM&A
  • Rags to riches: entrepreneurs
  • The Qwest: we’ re in search of something important

Next, he basically says it’s important to immediately grab their attention, similar to Jerry Weissman’s concept of the “opening gambit” (a chess metaphor).

Finally he explains other useful, if not new, concepts:

  • Focus on the audience and why they should care (of the “WIIFY” in Jerry’s talk)
  • Explain why you can help provide a solution, but in a crisp digestible format (the classic: boil down to 3-5 points max is exactly for this)
  • And finally explain what are their “CTA”, call to action, what can they actually do right after your presentation to help them put this solution in action.

Overall, if not ground breaking, it’s a great 3 min spend for someone that want to understand  the basics of effective presentations.

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