You’re a grown-up out in the business world. You engage successfully with colleagues, employees, or clients every day. So what could you possibly learn from my five-year-old daughter, Lulu?
Well, think about this: Almost every five-year-old on the planet can tell a story with enthusiasm and animation. Below is Lulu’s version of “The Three Little Pigs.”
So! At what point in our adult careers do we apparently accept that business presentations should be dry and emotionless?
Today, take a look at these four tips from Lulu, and your next presentation will become more persuasive, more memorable and more effective!
- Keep it simple. Lulu has the vocabulary of, well, a five-year-old. And while I’m not advocating you break your words down quite that far, it’s important to consider that every audience is a lay-audience. Stay away from technical jargon or shop-talk. Just because your staff has been describing it as the “business development solutions ecosystem” doesn’t mean anyone else will have the slightest idea what that means. (I did not make that example up!)
- Put some heart into it. No matter what the topic, the child storyteller is always passionate. Are you presenting record year-end profits? Then get excited! Are you urging your team to meet increased sales goals? Then be compassionate and encouraging. Infusing your presentation with emotion is not about wearing your heart on your sleeve, it is about connecting with your audience. Remember, the first rule of human behavior is that people make decisions emotionally.
- Gesticulate. Along with her vocal intensity, Lulu instinctively uses her body. Her arms stretch out wide, for example, when she exclaims, “The pigs went into the wild” Take your hands off of the podium and add some emphasis. Not wild hand waving, of course, but consider adding broad deliberate gestures, varied postures and movement, enhanced facial expressions and other forms of non-verbal communication to punch up your presentations.
- Tell a story. Dinner time is never dull when Lulu tells us a story. You may find this counterintuitive, but when in doubt, cut some information from your presentation and tell a heart-felt story instead. Make it personal. Make it tie into your message. But do tell a story. Your audience will thank you, and more importantly, they will remember what you have to say.
My husband is quick to point out that not everything our daughter does makes for a good presentation. And he’s absolutely right. Coming up next time: “Four things Lulu does that you should NOT incorporate into a business presentation.”
(This is adapted from an essay I previously wrote for my friends at the US-based marketing consultancy, MarketPoint)