Carmine Gallo is a communication coach for the world’s most admired brands. He has helped transform the storytelling culture at Intel, Coca-Cola, LinkedIn, Chevron, and many others. He is an Emmy award-winning journalist, Forbes .com columnist, and popular keynote speaker on the topic of leadership and communication.
Geetesh: In your recent survey, it was found that most presenters are not effective – and audiences are not receptive! What do you think about this scenario?
Carmine: It doesn’t surprise me. What surprised me that was that only 70 percent of those who give presentations consider presentation skills critical to their career success. The other 30 percent just don’t know it yet!
The Prezi/Harris Interactive survey found that 63% of those who present agree that “slide-based presentations” can be boring. That’s because they are. The typical slide is the least effective way of delivering information. Slides that contain heavy text, words and bullet points are the least persuasive way of changing hearts and minds. My favorite presentations — the ones which are the most successful — are highly visual and engaging. If you’re going to tell a story, for example, I want to see the people you’re telling the story about. I don’t need read words while you’re sharing the story. Visuals complement the narrative.
Geetesh: What is your advice to presenters to tackle this difficult scenario?
Carmine: Think visually. Craft the narrative before designing the presentation. You can do this in a number of ways. I like the old-fashioned whiteboard. Another opportunity is to use platforms like Prezi which allow you to create notes and sketches in the program before you design the slides. Regardless of the type of software you use to craft and deliver your presentation, think about telling visual stories. I analyzed more than 500 of the best TED talks. In some of the better ones — the most viral, the longest standing ovations, etc. — stories made up a full 65 percent of the content. Data and statistics made up about 25 percent. The story must come first. The presentation enhances, complements, the story and brings it to life.