A typical PowerPoint presentation includes the speaker reading the slide and maybe including a couple of other sentences that are not on the slide. That is backwards. This upside-down pyramid shows how conveying the data itself is one small piece –- and perhaps the smallest -– of your presentation. Your task as a speaker is to communicate information that is not on the slide. Let’s start at the bottom of the inverted pyramid.
Convey: First, convey your data. You might tell your audience that the purchase of a new production machine will cost $500,000. Many times you don’t even have to read the numbers; your audience can see them.
Add to: Second, add information to the data by telling your audience that this machine will allow the company to increase its inventory, which is critical because the manufacturing plant is now running at capacity. If you don’t add to and explain the number you are conveying, your audience does not know how to think or feel about agreeing to purchase a new machine.
Interpret: Third, interpret the data and give it meaning. Help your audience make a decision by telling them why the information is important and what it means to them. For example, your audience may be wondering if this machine really is necessary right now. You can help them make up their minds by stating, “The sales group is about to sign an agreement for an alliance with a vendor who wants to sell our products. We will need more inventory.” Now you are interpreting the data and giving it meaning.
Share your vision: Fourth, if appropriate, share a vision: “I know that this investment will pay off and lead to increased revenue when our partner starts to sell for us. They have already ordered more products than we have on hand.”
When you as the speaker actually “add value” to what you are showing on the slide, your audience stays engaged. The slide has the job to convey, but you have the other three jobs on the communication pyramid. To convince your audience, you must add to the data, interpret it, and share your vision.
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