Las Vegas, NV
June 15-16, 2017

Presenting… The Presenters: De-Coupling From “Traditional” Presentations

By: Marcus Gordon


Have you recently heard this in your organization: “I think our PowerPoint presentation is too dense and too long!”  Well, so have I - In fact, we can suggest with a fair amount of certainty that our peers in health IT marketing and communications hear this way too often, even after our suggested counsel of “telling the story” rather than “showing it.” During BrandHIT, I am looking forward to discussing with others about trials and tribulations in developing action-oriented presentations that accelerate the sales process.


Why are long-winded, copy-heavy, PowerPoints still pervasive in our industry? Haven’t we all learned from Apple’s elegance, and financial success, that visual storytelling, coupled with easy-to-use products, need just a black screen and some meaningful, emotionally-connecting imagery to excite buyers? Why does our industry still feel compelled to drive the buyer education and sales process via meaningless slides?


Through our DNA, we are driven by facts and data. Google, an organization also grounded in data and science, is now using a scientific approach to presenting. A recent Inc. article explained how. Below are a few salient facts from this article that substantiate “less is more” when it comes to presenting:

  1. University of Washington biologist John Medina has done extensive research into persuasion and how the brain processes information. According to his book, Brain Rules, "We are incredible at remembering pictures. Hear a piece of information, and three days later you'll remember 10 percent of it. Add a picture and you'll remember 65 percent."
  2. Cognitive scientists say it's impossible for us to multitask as well as we think we can. The brain cannot do two things at once and do them equally well. When it comes to presentation design, we can't read text on the screen and listen to the speaker while retaining all the information. It can't be done.
  3. Slide design guru Nancy Duarte recommends followinga three-second rule. If viewers do not understand the gist of your slide in three seconds, it's too complicated. "Think of your slides as billboards," says Duarte. "When people drive, they only briefly take their eyes off their main focus, which is the road, to process a billboard of information. Similarly, your audience should focus intently on what you're saying, looking only briefly at your slides when you display them."


As we gather, connect, and share in Las Vegas this week, I hope to learn from my peers about the challenges and successes they are having in moving toward visual storytelling to accelerate the sales process. Old habits are hard to break, but as an industry amid change in almost every aspect, I hope we can indoctrinate the facts around presenting to drive behavioral change – for our betterment, as well as our buyers!

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