Tag Archives: Nancy Duarte

Live from #TMRE13: You Are The Presentation

A presentation about presentations provided a good kickstart for TheMarketResearchEvent today!

Gene Zelazny of McKinsey & Co. gave a compelling talk about making the most of your business presentation.

He spent an appropriate amount of time discussing how Defining the Situation First was the single MOST important aspect of a good presentation.  By first defining what you want impact you want the audience to have as a result of the presentation in 1 sentence, everything else flows easily from there.

This framework for thinking about presentations reminded me of a 1-day Duarte Design workshop I attended last summer – I still remember how impactful the workshop was. The instructor claimed that once you first get clarity on WHAT the audience should DO as as a result of what you’re presenting, the more clarity you will have in creating the story…and slide deck.

Zelazny also went on to show how important it is to “turn the story upside down” when structuring the presentation.  In other words, giving the recommendations first instead of trying to detail the process of getting there.

A few resources he provided were www.powerframeworks.com as well as his 2 books, Say it With Charts and Say it With Presentations.  All of these give simple design visuals to help when you’re developing graphics for presentations.

April Bell is Principal and Founder of April Bell Research Group, a boutique, full-service marketing research firm, committed to delivering fresh insights you can act on! Learn more at aprilbellresearch.com.  

Let Me Tell You A Story

Today’s post comes from TMRE Guest Blogger, Katie Clark. She is also known as @InsightsGal on Twitter and is a client-side market researcher, project manager, and social media maven.   

At the company where I work, a large part of our business is B2B tradeshows.  At the end of each tradeshow (and after the results of our post-show evaluations come in), our market research team collaborates with our marketing data team to produce a presentation/report. Yes, currently it really is a presentation-slash-report’that’s part of this story.

There is so much data that comes out of both departments after an event…and of course teams that manage the events have key questions about the performance of their product.  Over time, our presentation/reports have grown, and grown, and grown’and grown. 

So, now, in the scant hour that we have for our presentation meeting, we are subjecting our audience to a LOT of data.  That takes a lot of stamina to listen to and digest.  A presentation that has come out of a great collaboration between teams has essentially become one big cumbersome report.   

And you know what? Along the way we lost the story.

In research, we all work in data-rich environments.  There is so much to analyze and so much to share…it takes a lot of skill to hone that down into something more palatable AND focus on the story you’re actually trying to tell.  Because if you focus on the story, the data will help you tell it without a ‘data dump’ taking over the talk entirely. As the brilliant Cole Nussbaumer says:  ‘Any data you show has to be part of a story.’ 

Are we all natural storytellers? No. If you’re not a natural storyteller (many of us aren’t) it’s a skill like any other that needs to be nurtured.  Where to start?

Check out a video encore of Jonah Sachs’ TMRE 2012 talk on ‘Winning the Story Wars‘ that we shared on the blog recently.

Watch one of the Jedi masters of storytelling, Nancy Duarte, speak on ‘The Secret Structure of Great Talks.’

Immerse yourself at #TMRE13 in the many sessions that have a storytelling aspect to them, including: 

-A pre-conference storytelling workshop on Sunday 10/20 hosted by Emmy-nominated country music songwriters

-Conducting The Symphony Of Brand Development: Immerse Your Audience In The Story presented by E&J Gallo Winery

-Using Brand Data (Media Mix Analysis, Brand  Tracking Studies, Etc.) To Tell Your Brand Story presented by StubHub

-Principles of Visual Storytelling presented by Vital Findings

So, back to my story. 

What are we doing about the presentation/report?  We’re talking to our customers to learn what makes the most sense for them, we’re investigating what should go into actual reports versus the presentation (should it be a ‘slideument‘?) , we’re also prepping some fun exercises like an immersion room full of the slides that our key constituents can walk around with sticky notes and comment on.

But at the top of our list? Honing the storytelling skills of our teams to ensure that the story doesn’t get lost in a sea of data. 


More about Katie: Based in Portland, Maine, Katie is the Senior Research Manager at Diversified Business Communications, managing a team of skilled researchers busy gleaning insights for products around the globe. She has worked with companies large and small in industries such as software, seafood, fragrance and entertainment to help companies move their business forward supported by actionable insights derived from market research. She loves to find the story in the numbers and is passionate about bringing the ‘Voice of the Customer’ inside the organization. Active on social media as @InsightsGal, Katie actively tweets and blogs about the market research industry. The opinions expressed here are her own and not those of her employer.