Forget The Charts
Every reputable presentation trainer and presentation training book says the same thing: “plan your charts before you present.” So it may seem like the voice of a rebel when you hear: “Forget the Charts!”
In fact it is.
Your charts represent key ideas, core themes and important points. But, why do you have them? There’s no great value to a truckload of PowerPoint charts, if you don’t know the answer. You must know your answer to “Why do I have these charts?”
A lot of people pay a lot of money for professionally designed charts and slides. This is smart, if you know why. But a lot of people just believe: “A cool-looking chart will save me.”
This is false logic. It is really quite bewildering. Sure, you can hire the top design firm. You can pay big bucks for amazing charts. It could impress your client. It might impress your boss.
But it won’t necessarily get you the deal.
Your client isn’t interested in a pretty chart. They want to talk. They want something much more down to earth. A genuine conversation. An authentic connection. A lively discussion. They want to share their dreams, goals, pains and problems.
They want to talk about their issues. And they want to know how you can help them achieve their dreams. Yes, it’s true. Everyone loves to talk about their issues and their business. This is why so many sales experts encourage presenters to listen more…and talk less.
Will a chart cut it? Sorry. Not all by itself.
What happens when you place all faith in your charts? You won’t be prepared for open-ended conversation. You won’t be confident answering spontaneous questions. In all fairness, you might just want to show your cool-looking charts.
Contrary to popular belief, your presentation is not done once you plan your charts. Yes, you can have beautiful templates. Yes, can have use the right colors. Yes, you can show pretty pictures. These are all good things. It’s a lot better than boring ‘bullet-point-only’ charts.
But, you’re still not ready to present.
Here’s why: your charts are visual aids. They should provide assistance to your core message and delivery style. In all truth, you should be able to present your message without the charts.
What is your message, without relying on the charts? What is your story? What else can you show? What evidence do you want to share?
Imagine a presentation without relying on the charts. This is a stretch, right? And it may surprise you. Especially you want to make a powerful visual impact.
Now, hold on a moment. How can you say ‘forget the charts?’
I know. It seems outlandish. Outrageous, in fact. However, it’s not.
If you can relate your core ideas in an engaging and concise manner, your audience will pay attention. When you add charts into the foundation of a powerful story, your audience will be even more engaged. But it doesn’t start with relying on your charts or PowerPoint slides.
It all starts with your commitment to what’s underneath the charts.
Are you clear about your story? Do you know exactly how to connect emotionally with your audience? If your answer is “yes!” then you are home free.
If you’re answer is… “Well…I’m not exactly sure,” then you have some more work to do. Plan your presentation flow, first. Use a Presentation Storyboard and you’ll save tons of stress and loads of time.
Relying on PowerPoint charts is just not going to achieve the same results. You may hire a fantastic design firm and pay for terrific charts (hopefully) but that will not guarantee a phenomenal presentation.