Thursday, April 3, 2014

The First Step in Creating a Persuasive Presentation

The presentation process I teach is called U.S.E.—Understand, Summarize and Explain. Looking at the first step (Understand) there are three core elements: audience, need, and requirements (if applicable).

To be persuasive, our presentation must resonate with the audience. To do so, we want to empathize with them. If the audience waved a magic wand, what would be the perfect outcome (for them)? A presenter that understands the audience has an advantage. The more we know about the audience, the more persuasive your presentation.

Audience understanding and insight is usually captured in an ad hoc manner, if at all. Early in the process, the secret is to determine what matters most. To do this, I use a special mind map exercise I call the HFB Mind Map. This mind map helps me understand the audience’s
  1. Hopes: What do they want after the presentation? What is the best-case outcome? 
  2. Fears: What keeps them up at night? What will make them worry? 
  3. Biases: What types of solutions, messages, communication styles do they prefer? What do they dislike? 
Use the following steps to create an HFP Mind Map:
  • Step one: In the center of a piece of paper, large white board, or chalkboard, write hopes, fears, and biases. 
  • Step two: Ask yourself (or your team, if this is a group effort) to name specific hopes, fears, and biases. Use branches to connect each element to their respective sources. 
  • Step three: Dissect each of those hopes, fears, and biases. Continue to do so until you can no longer break down the elements into their key contributors. The intent is to uncover and define how the audience describes their hopes, fears, and biases. These three elements are key motivators to human change and choice. 
The following is an example of a HFB Mind Map:

In my experience, you will jump from one component (hopes, fears, biases) to the next when making the HFB Mind Map. It is unlikely you will complete one of the three components without populating another.

In addition, the HFB Mind Map exercise can uncover key messages. For example, if you see a reoccurrence of a resonating idea (e.g., save money), it is likely to be a dominant motivator for the audience and should be woven into your presentation.

Using my HFB Mind Map approach speeds development and helps eliminate revisions because you (plus other contributors and your client, when applicable) empathize with the audience. You are more likely to share what the audience needs to understand to take the next step.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Mike Parkinson and Get My Graphic at the ASTD International Conference & Exposition

We are exhibiting in booth 2123 at the ASTD 2014 International Conference & Exposition and we want to see you there!

Learn how to quickly make powerful graphics at Mike Parkinson's pre-conference workshop on Saturday, May 3rd from 9:00 am–5:00 pm. Go to ASTD's website to sign up.

We'll have special discounts and offerings on our graphic packages at our Get My Graphic booth during the ASTD 2014 International Conference & Exposition, May 4-7, 2014 in Washington DC. Visit our booth to talk with graphic experts who will show you how to create better visuals.

The ASTD 2014 International Conference & Exposition features more than 250 educational sessions from industry-leading experts and a world-class EXPO filled with the latest products and services from top suppliers. The ASTD 2014 Education Program cannot be missed! Each track has been designed to optimize your learning in one particular discipline. You can attend all sessions with a track to truly become an expert, visit a few sessions from each track, or coordinate a team to view sessions from each track and then debrief at the end of each day!
  • Career Development 
  • Training Design & Delivery 
  • Global Human Resource Development 
  • Human Capital Leadership Development 
  • Learning Technologies Learning Measurement & Analytics 
  • Workforce Development for Non-Training Professionals 
  • Government Higher Education Sales Enablement 
Don't delay, register today for a free Expo Only registration, or, register* for $100 off a Full Conference registration, courtesy of Mike Parkinson and Get My Graphic.
Please note: Full conference discount reflected at check out. Be sure to visit us in booth 2123.

Friday, March 14, 2014

3 Steps to a Better Webinar Start by Guest Blogger Meghan Dotter

Webinars are a great way to reach more people at a lower cost. They're also a highly challenging way to create a connection to those people. The area where many presenters fall short in adapting to the remote format is at the beginning. We have from 7–30 seconds for our audience to decide whether we are credible or not, so getting off to a seamless start is critical.
  1. Reward those who log on early. Twenty minutes before your Webinar begins, rotate slides. Preview factoids or pose questions about the material you'll cover, recreating the preview experience you might have in a movie theater. This will help you avoid situations where a person logs on ten minutes early, and then starts catching up on email, or a phone call ...  and then realizes 5 minutes too late that the Webinar has already started. 
  2. Get out of the blocks quickly. As with any presentation, your audience decides on their level of interest fairly quickly (we're talking 30–90 seconds). So why is that many Webinars keep the introduction slide up several minutes once the event has started? Show the title, along with photos of the presenters (if you're not visible by video), and then move along by engaging them visually with diagrams and photos that support your messages. 
  3. Assign a technical point person. As the presenter, you need to be focused on your words, slides, and interaction with the audience. It's not the time to troubleshoot technical issues, from log-ins to sound or enabling chat. Recruit someone to be your technical point person, providing their name and contact information in the Webinar invite, rotating introduction slides. And then give them a big thank you for giving you peace of mind and the space to focus on your presentation. 

Meghan Dotter is the principal at Portico Presentations. Follow presentation content and delivery discussions @PorticoPR and The Present Better Blog at