From Fast Company: 7 Ways to Give Presentations that People Actually Care About

Speech Girl

While there’s nothing new here, these basic tips bear repeating.   When preparing to give a presentation at a conference, meeting or any other event, think about your audience.  They’re all adults, and probably professionals.  They’re busy people who don’t have a lot of time to waste on boring, or irrelevant details.

Andragogy (teaching to adults) demands a different style than pedagogy (teaching to children).  You can’t lecture at adults because they (we) won’t listen.  (Actually, I never did well with the traditional lecture style anyway, even as a kid.)

Engage us.  Make it relevant.  Recognize that we all have different ways of relating and learning – some of us are hands on, some are visual, some are auditory.  Give us a some of each – a mix of flip chart, power point, hand out, posters, actual product displays, and other visuals; audio, discussion, music; and activities that can include simple checklists, arithmetic problems (note, I said arithmetic, not math), touching or manipulating product… even doing stretches or blowing bubbles, if it makes sense to the subject matter.

Anyway, here’s the link to the article, as well as the narrative.

By Drake Baer.

When NYU leadership lecturer Helio Fred Garcia wants to gather an audience’s attention, he enlists the most fearsome of allies: The Black Eyed Peas.

“At precisely 9 a.m. I touch a button on my remote mouse and play a sudden blast,”
he shared with us. “After a 10-second burst of very loud music, I have every student’s undivided attention. I then lock in the connection: I smile, welcome them, thank them for investing a full Saturday in developing their careers. Only then do I begin the class. I have hijacked their amygdalas. We need audiences to feel first and then to think.

But what for those of us who have the burden privilege of talking to a room full of people but don’t want to resort to late 2000s party anthems? Is there a way to get an audience into what you’re saying without having to summon the presence of Fergie? Yes, may declare. YesGraph cofounder and vet of Dropbox and Facebook Ivan Kiriginshow us how.

Kirigin, who just gave a talk at the 2013 Growth Hacker Conference, blogged aboutwhat makes for a killer presentation–a mixture of knowing your audience, giving them just the right information, and not-boring visuals. Let’s buffet his insights below.


Quality communication is grounded in empathy; you gotta know what they want to know.

“As much as I’d like to talk about zombies and nukes,” Kirigin says, “a growth conference audience wants to hear specific tactics and strategy around growth.”


Reading from a script will make you sound like a mixture of woefully wooden politician and delightfully unrelatable robot. So instead of memorizing your talk word for word, know the whole of the ideas you’re trying to communicate–then talk about them like a human.


Fast Company recently saw Mastermind: How to Think Like Sherlock Holmes author Maria Konnikova give a talk about the weirdness of cognition. When she wanted to show how people can see the same object multiple ways, she showed the audience this illusion: Depending on the way you look at it, you see either a duck or a rabbit, which is crazy–and super effective for illustrating her point.


Storytelling is one of the finest and most engaging ways of communicating ideas–to the point that it might be an evolutionary adaptation. As Kirigin says:

You should generally try to tell a narrative story regardless of the topic. Stories are easier to understand and keep an audience’s attention. This isn’t always possible. In my growth talk, the story was how I came to work in growth, some things we tried at Dropbox, and lessons learned applied to a new startup.

To brush up on your storytelling skills, consult a screenwriting guru.


“People literally can’t listen to you and read at the same time,” Kirigin says. “So when you have a lot of writing on your slide, expect that people aren’t going to listen to what you’re saying.”


Kirigin recorded himself giving his talk (againagain, and again) before giving his presentation–allowing him to iterate on each version.


“All this practice and iteration helps you focus on what matters when giving a talk: engaging with your audience,” Kirigin says. “When neither you nor your audience are reading your slides, you can see how people react to what you’re saying. You know when something is confusing.”

This is the same advice that Quiet author Susan Cain once gave us: Just as being a quality conversationalist depends on listening to your partner, being a topflight speaker means listening to your audience.

Once you get enough experience, she says, “you can really read audiences,” as you feel the moods and reactions of the audience–and allowing the monologue to evolve into a dialogue.

Drake Baer is a contributing writer at Fast Company, where he covers work culture. He’s the co-author of Everything Connects, a book about how intrapersonal, interpersonal, and organizational psychology shape innovation, due out in February. Email him: dbaer at

From HuffPost: How to Strengthen Your Sales Funnel Via Trade Shows

Too often businesses will pay good money to exhibit at a conference or trade show, including purchasing expensive backdrops, displays, brochures and other materials – and then neglect to invite their contacts to attend and visit them.   This makes even less sense when the business is presenting a workshop or seminar, when showing off their expertise is exactly the way to nail a potential client.


Participating in a trade show generally requires a significant commitment of your time, money and resources. However, if you plan well, you can supercharge your sales funnel through trade shows.

At Jifflenow, we have powered meeting management solutions for dozens of Fortune 500 companies for the last few years at some of the major trade shows and conferences. We have observed the best practices followed by these companies on winning the mindshare battle at trade shows. This article will share some ideas from what we have learned so far.

A Quick Refresher on AIDA Model

One of the common models to describe a sales funnel is the AIDA model. AIDA an acronym for:

    • Awareness: Get the person to know that you exist.
    • Interest: Raise the person’s interest about your offering.
    • Desire: Convince the person that your offer is what they need.
    • Action: Move them towards taking action to make the purchase.

Working with the Model

Trade Shows provide an amazing opportunity to move your prospects and customers through this sales funnel. Here are some ideas to consider:

1. Raising Awareness:

Participation in a trade show provides a perfect excuse to touch those people in your list (prospects) that you have not touched for a while. A simple email asking whether they plan to be attending the trade show can break the ice and lead to a few more conversations either via email or it might even get upgraded to a phone conversation.

A small percentage of the outreach will result in positive replies and some of them even may be attending the trade show giving you an opportunity to invite them to a meeting that will move them from Awareness to Interest.

2. From Awareness to Interest:

This is where all your investments in building thought leadership will come into full use. Here you are targeting people who are familiar with what you do but have not taken keen interest to take a deeper look. The core strategy here has to be “Education.”

Invite these people to one or more of the following:

    • Breakout sessions about trends in the industry
    • To meet with industry experts on your staff
    • Demonstrations of cool new product offerings


Conversations at these educational sessions can determine which of the prospects might move into the next sales stage.

3. From Interest to Desire:

This is where you are engaging with “real” prospects that have shown interest but have not decided to proceed with one or more of your offerings.

The goal of your salespeople should be to get these “hot” prospects to meet with your star solution architects, product managers and combine them with one or more members of the management team.

The agenda of those meetings has to be to discuss specific projects and opportunities how your offerings can bring a significant value to their present situation.

4. From Desire to Action:

This is where you are engaging with prospects that are in the “last mile” of discussing specific deals with your organization. This is also the “power play section of the trade show activity. You need to bring key management team members to show the commitment to the relationship.

The goal of salespeople is to get the right decision makers from both ends (prospects and your organization) to the table. Not just that, they need to brief the internal team and arm them with all the information

What Next?

Think about the above for the next trade show you are planning to attend. What you have to work with is a superset of all the prospects that you can reach related to the topic of the trade show. Categorize these prospects into various buckets (A.I.D.A) and create a plan of attack to for each category of prospects to move them to the next stage in the sales cycle.

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