Nov 22, 2012

Why sharing facts is not enough

What do you say when a new slide come up in your presentation. The facts. That's it or something more?

"75% of the smart phones in the world run on Android" or "India imports more than 50% of its requirement of cooking oil" or "Our product's sales went up 5% last quarter even though the prices were up 15%."

You then move on to the next slide and say what's on the next slide.

This is incomplete. For every slide you make, you need to look at three things:

1. The Fact
2. What's your point?
3. Why should the audience care?

Most of the times points 2 and 3 are obvious to you but not to the audience. After having shared the facts, you need to give the meaning to the audience. What's your point? So what is it that you really want us to know (after having shared the fact).

"Our product's sales went up 5% even though the prices were revised upwards 15% means? What is the point you are making? Should we increase prices again or reduce prices since 5% could have been 20% if the prices did not go up."

Even more important is "Why should the audience care?" Just because you share a fact, does not mean I have to listen to it or take action based upon it. Is it relevant to the overall message of your presentation? Why are you sharing this fact and its meaning? If you answer "Why should the audience care?" you will never have unwanted stuff on your slide.

This is one of the many things I have learnt from the book, Presentation Zen.