Your presentation has to stand out

When you are delivering a presentation, you have a matter of seconds to make the right first impression. Which is why Sallyann Della Casa, the founder of the Growing Leaders Foundation, is hosting a series of public workshop at venues around the UAE to help delegates attract the attention they want. Each 90-minute session, which costs Dh150 to attend, focuses on a different theme such as how to stand out, innovation, using social media and presentation skills. Here Ms Della Casa reveals her 10 “secret sauces” on how to deliver an effective presentation:

1. Grab their attention

When you present an idea, you have seven seconds to tell your audience what your mantra is. A mantra is a great way to make someone sit up and want to know more about you or your idea. “1,000 songs in your pocket” was the mantra Steve Jobs used to introduce the iPod. “We wake up leaders’ is the mantra of the foundation.

2. Group information in sets of three

When you present information to someone, you have to step into their shoes. Most of the time if we’re presenting, we give them this list of 10 bullet points. But people remember things in groups of threes – that’s the reason why there are three musketeers, and three blind mice. Start separating what you do to give people what they need to remember.

3. Appeal to the visual thinkers first

We all learn and receive information in different ways: 65 per cent of us are visual and the rest are primarily kinaesthetic (with the hands), or auditory. If you’re doing a presentation, you have to appeal first to your majority of visual thinkers. When someone is visual, a lot of the time, when they’re reading a slide, they stop listening. That’s why a visual should only have one idea line and a couple of words. Never put out a visual with bullet points. People have come in to hear you present, they’re not coming to read your slide while you read out information.

4. Connect with your audience

There’s a big difference between communicating and connecting. What’s important is how you connect with someone when you’re speaking to them, to be open enough, to be receptive to what they’re giving back and to be able to shift what you’re doing accordingly. Ask yourself how do I open myself up, not to what I have in the script but to where they are coming from? How do I stand in their shoes, to give them what they need? Connection can only be achieved when you get a physical reaction from your audience, ie a nodding head, a standing ovation or beaming faces.

5. Pitch like a start-up

Incorporate the “pitch deck” process – which is usually only used by start-ups when picking venture capitalists – as a frame in presenting anything, whether it is an idea, a business or a new product.

6. Tell a story

Use storytelling to have your audience buy in. Storytelling is how we make sense of things and is the best way to share the problem you are fixing. It allows your target customer to “feel the pain” with you, which sets them up to get giddy about your solution, ie a new product or service.

7. Be an aspirin, not a vitamin

Make your solutions aspirins instead of vitamins. Think about it, your business offering or what you are presenting to someone as a solution is either an aspirin or a vitamin. Very few people take vitamins but many use aspirins.

8. Differentiate your “zag”

Your zag is what you do differently to everyone else. Learn how to quickly explain to someone your “only” statement, which goes like: “ I am the only _____, that______”. That is your zag and how you differentiate yourself in a crowded marketplace.

9. Make your numbers dance

Numbers do not resonate unless there is context. You really need to add narrative and a story to your numbers, otherwise you will lose everyone. Telling someone your product has 3G of memory means nothing to them. But if you say it can hold up to 7,500 songs – that gives people some context.

10. End with a call to action.

People want you to instruct them on what to do with the information you have provided. Be sincere, specific and clear about what you want from them.

Sallyann Della Casa's next presentation skills session will be held on October 25 at The Space in Abu Dhabi, at the TwoFour54 Park Rotana complex. Contact for more information.

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