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presentation skills

Save the good stuff for last (and first)

In our recent blog, “Where’s the beef in your presentations,” we talked about not putting the “meat” of your presentations in the middle of your talk, because people only remember about 20% of the middle of your presentations versus 70% of your opening and almost 100% of your closing.

Now you can see Tim Riesterer’s keynote presentation from this year’s BMA14 Global Conference, and learn about the science behind his move-the-meat premise and ways to keep your prospects engaged in the middle. Check out the king of visual storytelling at work.


Where’s the beef in your presentations? Hint: It shouldn’t be the middle!


For most omnivores, the big juicy burger in the middle of the two buns is the gastronomical destination of the burger-eating experience. But when it comes to presentations, Tim Riesterer says, “Don’t put the meat in the middle!”

In his session at last week’s BMA Global Conference, Tim highlighted research that shows that people remember 70% of your opening, almost 100% of your closing, and just 20% of the middle of your presentation. So despite what our favorite burger might suggest, you’re better off sandwiching the good stuff in a strong start and an even better ending.


Read on for more and to see 6 more of Forbes’ top takeaways for engaging customers from the conference.




What will your customer remember about your story?

tablet disconnectWhat’s the best way to ensure that your customer remembers what you tell her on that all-important sales call?

Recent research from James Bigelow and Amy Poremba at the University of Iowa* sheds some analytical light on this typically abstract topic. Here’s a hint:  For those of you who say, “I just want to have a conversation, ask questions and take some notes,” be prepared to be forgettable.

Bigelow and Poremba set up experiments to test the percentage of subjects who could recall visual, tactile, and auditory information in the short term (1 second to 32 seconds) and then over a longer period of time (same day, next day, and next week).  Subjects were presented with stimuli including short videos (visual), sound recordings (auditory), and everyday objects hidden in opaque boxes (tactile).  They were then tested to see whether they could recall those stimuli.

The results? In all cases visual and tactile stimuli were remembered longer and better than auditory ones.  Here’s what the data looked like for same day, next day, and next week accuracy.












What’s the message for marketing and sales professionals?  Don’t depend on your customer to remember your story based on what you SAY.  Instead, present your main points in compelling visuals, augmented by tangible 3D props whenever possible.

Want to learn more about how to build better visual and tactile elements into your sales conversations?  Then check out this video:

*Link to research here.





Presentation Pitfalls

Earlier this year, director and producer, Michael Bay, walked off the stage at Samsung’s press conference when his presentation failed to appear on screen.

John Travolta was recently all over the news for butchering  Idina Menzel’s name at the Oscars.*

And then there’s Huffington Post’s infamous tech fail mash-up, including some of the biggest names in technology.

But perhaps the best-loved and most colossal presentation disaster of all is from Anchorman, albeit fictional. Warning: explicit language in clip.

When otherwise great presenters let technical malfunctions stop them from delivering a powerful message, you know it can happen to anyone. Maybe it’s happened to you.

The problem is that people often use a crutch to get their point across – be it PowerPoint, a teleprompter, or other visual aid – which is understandable. But when you’re in front of an audience – whether it’s clients, customers or anyone else who matters – nothing should keep you from communicating what you’re there to say.

Instead of relying on pre-created visual helpers, own the story you want to tell – step out from behind the projector and have a conversation. In the end, it will make all the difference.


*Maybe this wasn’t a technology glitch, but if Travolta had learned her name prior to trying to read it on screen, he could have saved face. It sounds like Idina has forgiven him, though, so all is well again.


Bad things happen in the dark

We’ve said it so many times, it’s become a mantra at Corporate Visions. Turning out the lights and giving PowerPoint presentations is a bad idea. We’ve shown statistics, given examples, and written articles illustrating why delivering canned presentations in the dark is an ineffective communication and sales strategy. But this commercial – a great example of the power of visual communications, BTW – says it all. Just imagine what your audience is doing in the dark…watch.