How to Present Data to a Prospect
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Presenting data is challenging, but sometimes advisors have to.
Here is how to do it better than your peers.
Change your focus
Follow this advice: First you entertain, then you educate and finally you elevate.
How many data-dense presentations have you heard where you left thinking: Well, that was entertaining?
There are many ways to make any presentation entertaining. Inject some humor, especially the self-deprecating kind. Make your visuals funny, where appropriate.
Use your imagination. Put yourself in the shoes of the audience. Would your presentation bring a smile to their faces, or would they sit there looking bored and distracted?
It’s surprising what you can come up with when you are challenged to be entertaining. One client, who was discussing the developmental aspects of web design, changed all his visuals to feature a Spiderman-looking character, illustrating the points he was trying to make.
The audience was immediately engaged.
You can’t educate an audience that’s not paying attention. Sometimes it feels like speakers have entered an alternative reality. They talk the way they think speakers should “present.” Instead of having a conversation with the audience, they lecture them, speak in a stilted manner and use jargon their listeners might not understand.
In a recent webinar, I was asked a very insightful question. I gave this answer: That’s an area I haven’t researched, so I don’t think my opinion would be worth any more than yours.
I received more positive feedback about that response than any other aspect of the webinar.
Having humility and not coming across as the all-knowing guru sets the stage for effective education.
Here are some additional tips for the education stage of your talk:
- Speak with passion. If you’re not into your subject matter, your audience won’t be either.
- Keep your visuals simple and easy-to-understand. Too much data or the use of insider jargon will confuse your audience.
- Make only one point per slide. It should be an obvious one. If someone looks at your visual, they should be able to immediately grasp what you’re trying to convey.
- Humanize your data. Humans process information emotionally. They aren’t computers. Tell them why the data should matter to them, in practical terms. If you’re trying to demonstrate a difference in expected returns, don’t just show a chart showing a higher return. Label the chart something like: This Difference Could Fund Your Grandchildren’s Education.
That’s something that will resonate.
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Instead of just presenting data, tell your audience what you want them to do with it and why that’s important. Motivate them to take action that will benefit themselves and others.
What’s the point of giving a talk if it doesn’t inspire your audience to try something new?
Data doesn’t have to be dry and boring. These tips will turn a data-dense presentation into a riveting one.