3 Keys to More Creative Presentations
Unlike most of the content marketing universe, I didn’t go to Content Marketing World this week – but I did try to follow along on Twitter, and I would have liked to see some of the presentations. Jay Baer is always lively and insightful, and while I’ve never seen Doug Kessler present, I suspect that the creator of “Crap: Why the Biggest Threat To Content Marketing Is Content Marketing” did not disappoint.
Unfortunately, I have been to conferences where many of the presentations were extremely disappointing: dull, unimaginative, unexciting PowerPoint fests, without the festiveness. Reflecting on this all put me in mind of a post I’d written elsewhere about the keys to making a creative presentation. These basic tips for presenting creative work apply to copywriters, content creators and conference speakers alike.
It’s not presentation time, “It’s show time!”
When I was a writer at BBDO New York, I worked with a terrific art director, Rick Hanson. As much as we enjoyed the process of creation (and it pays to have creative teams with good chemistry), we also learned to enjoy the art and act of presentation. Invariably, as we charged toward the conference room door, psyched to not simply show but actually sell our work, Rick would turn to me with this great grin and say “It’s show time!”
A blog post from a less typical source brought that presentation-as-performance attitude to mind. The title is “ Top 5 Mistakes Musicians make with their live show,” and the mistake that really hit home was #4: “Artists assume the audience wants them to sing songs or play music.” Well duh, don’t they? No. They want more.
Its all about your audience
As copywriters (or even keynote speakers) we get enamored of our words and fall in love with our concepts. But it’s not about us. Ultimately it’s about communicating what’ s in it for the prospect. Substitute “consumers” or even “clients,” for “audiences” in this excerpt from the blog post to see this from a new perspective:
“Audiences go to a live concert for 3 reasons: to be captured & engaged, to experience moments, and to have their lives changed in some way.”
So the next time you’re headed in to a creative presentation, remember,
1. Capture your audience
You’ve got to capture their attention in a meaningful way (not through gratuitous creativity or borrowed interest); this starts well before the meeting with your basic concept and the copy you use to express it, which needs to be all about the consumer. Ideally, once captured, your audience is not merely entertained but engaged and involved.
2. Create an experience
Your creative work needs to create an “experience,” again first for the consumer but also for your presentation audience. Are you just explaining your proposition or are you conveying the emotional impact of it (and even B2B value propositions have “emotional,” versus simply rational, significance).
3. Show how your ideas create positive change
I’ve never quite bought the old agency mantra of “It’s all about the work.” It should really be “It’s all about what the work does.” You are in business communications, so you need to convey how your idea has the power to change things. Like concert-goers looking for an inspirational high, something to lift them out of the everyday, your consumers, and your clients who are trying to reach them, want more than a generic, any-store-brand-could-deliver it pay off; they want the sense that what you’re presenting can changes things for the better. In short, every pitch needs some degree of being inspirational and aspirational.
Whether you’re a copywriter planning a presentation, a brand manager selling the idea through to the top, or a speaker at the umpteenth social media conference this month, I have just three words for you: “It’s show time!”
What are your top tips for creative presentations?