Tuesday, 23 September 2014

Baby, What a Surprisingly Great Presentation!

It has been said that "Baby, What a Big Surprise" by Chicago is perhaps the best pop song ever recorded.  (I said that, so take it with a grain of salt.)  But I have also heard that Utopia's "Set Me Free" might also lay claim and I'm going to have to add "Call Me Maybe" to the list - not because any of these are particularly artistically magnificent, but because they follow a simple, catchy formula.  Could we learn a thing or two about that formula in our next sales presentation?

Jason (no last name given) writes on Gearslutz.com that the elements of a good pop song include
  1. song structure
  2. melody
  3. harmonic underpinning
  4. lyrics
Let's concentrate on the first - structure.  Most presenters tend to focus on lyrics ahead of structure almost every time.  In other words, in preparing to present we worry about what we're saying at the expense of how we're saying it.   But what if we followed the pop-song structure?  

Verse --> Chorus --> Verse --> Chorus --> Bridge --> Chorus

Let's translate that for business presentation purposes:

Verse - answers the 5W's of the presentation.  The words may change as we tell the story, but the message is consistent
The Climb - leads up to the chorus, builds interest
Chorus - answers the question "why should I care?"
Bridge - keeps it interesting by providing the alternate point of view, the unasked question, the "what if?"
And back to the chorus - brings it all to a satisfying ending

(These steps also bring joy to other human interactions, but I digress)

All this with a few words, a relevant picture, very little animation, simple graphs and charts, and as few slides as possible.  And practice, practice, practice - the audience wants to hear their favourite pop song presented live exactly as recorded in studio - flawless.

Listen here:
Baby What a Big Suprise  http://youtu.be/w0xcr93xx3A

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