Presenting to Win | Jerry Weissman

Summary of: Presenting to Win: The Art of Telling Your Story
By: Jerry Weissman


Embark on a journey to master the art of persuasive presentations with Jerry Weissman’s book, ‘Presenting to Win: The Art of Telling Your Story’. This book summary highlights the importance of avoiding the ‘Five Cardinal Sins’ of presenting – being pointless, irrelevant, confusing, complicated, and long. Discover how to craft your message by focusing on the action you want your audience to take, understanding their needs, and making your content relevant and relatable. Learn to organize your presentation effectively and captivate your audience using strong graphics and storytelling techniques, all while seamlessly weaving benefits throughout your speech.

The Art of Persuasion in Presentations

Persuasion is the primary objective of any presentation but many fail to achieve it due to the “Five Cardinal Sins” of presenting- being pointless, irrelevant, confusing, complicated, and long. To make a successful presentation, you need to be persuasive while keeping your message clear and relevant. You should sell the benefits and not features by understanding what your audience needs, and answering the question “What’s in it for you?” (WIIFY). You also need to match the WIIFY to the audience and avoid assuming that everyone knows why your product catalog matters to them since it may be important for different reasons to different people. Every communication is an IPO, and every business presentation has one common goal- the art of persuasion.

The Art of Simplifying Information

In “You never get a second chance to make a first impression,” the author emphasizes that presenting information simply and clearly is a crucial skill. To avoid losing your audience’s interest or causing confusion, prioritize extracting the meaning and focusing on what matters to them. The author advises treating data as raw material and brainstorming how to tailor your presentation to your audience’s needs. By keeping in mind that your audience doesn’t have to wade through the data, you can ensure they stay engaged and walk away with a clear understanding of the WIIFY (what’s in it for you).

Presenting to Varied Audiences

To effectively present to diverse audiences, start by understanding their technical expertise. Tailor the presentation to suit their level of knowledge without condescending or overwhelming them. Consider who you will present with, when, where, and what equipment you will need. To advocate for your audience, focus on benefits, not features. Use a flow structure to smoothly organize your presentation, such as modules, chronology, story, or diagram. Pose a problem, offer solutions, or compare with competitors. Finally, remember to only provide what your audience needs to know, and don’t force them to think.

Mastering Your Presentation

A successful presentation is like a game of chess; the opening can make or break it. Learn the seven time-honored openings that include a comparison, proverb, quote, yarn, looking back/forward, shocking fact, and leading question. Connect your opening to the Unique Selling Proposition (USP) and Proof of Concept, which demonstrate your company’s credibility. Let your audience know what you’ll say, say it, and tell them what you said. Customize your presentation by involving the audience, using recurring themes and slogans, and referencing previous points. Make the presentation seem unique, mentioning something in common or having done research on the audience.

Presentations vs. Documents

A presentation is not a document. While a document can contain vast amounts of data, readers have the luxury of analyzing and digesting the information at their own pace. Conversely, an audience must take in a presentation as it comes. Graphics should be used to support the presenter and enhance the information provided, without overshadowing the presentation itself. Never confuse a document with a presentation, and avoid providing photocopies of slides. Opt for the Notes Page view if a hard copy is needed. The true role of graphics is to allow the presenter to add value beyond what is projected on the screen.

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