41.5% of people struggle to effectively summarise information

QUESTION – how do I present to win?

THOUGHT – bring it all together, make your point and ask the question

I read my feed on Linked IN and Facebook every morning. There is some good material on both. Most of the time however, especially on Linked IN, where the subject matter is more business oriented, I find myself asking – ‘and your point is?’. Indeed, I often find myself commenting – ‘and your point is?’

Have a look yourself. At the moment, on the top of my feed is a quote – ‘the pessimist complains about the wind – the optimist expects it to change – the leader adjusts the sails’. “and your point is?’

I more often that not ask myself the same question at the end of a presentation and having read a submission. After sitting and listening for 30 minutes or reading for an hour, I all too often find myself asking – ‘and your point is”. This often happens at the end of a TED talk, despite the quality of the presentation. What is more, I am not alone.

A recent survey found that 41.5% of presenters admit to struggling with summarising information and bringing it to a point. In my experience, this is almost certainly an under-estimate. But even if the real figure is around 41% it suggests that nearly half of all presenters are struggling the make a clear and engaging point at the end of the presentation, leaving the audience to ask – ‘and your point is?’

Further to this, I would ad that the presenter’s point is never – or should never – be that they want the business. Their point should relate to exactly why they are the best choice to be engaged to do the business. To win the business it is essential to identify in simple terms, why you and not another firm should be appointed.

In other parlance the summary and conclusion should represent a simple but compelling value proposition that brings all of the points made in the presentation together into the reason why your presentation should carry the day.

When I draft a presentation, I start with that value proposition or summary of my case, that makes it very clear why my presentation should be the successful one – and if I cannot articulate that value proposition or summation at the very beginning of the presentation planning process, I don’t submit and I don’t present. The final summation is what the presentation is all about.

A great presentation is be structured in a way that takes the audience on a journey – from point to point in a way that paints a picture that naturally leads towards that value proposition such that when you make your final summation, it is logical, credible and compelling.

We all should recall from school the lesson that a good essay, letter, poem or indeed speech, has a beginning (where the proposition is presented), a middle (where the story is told and the key arguments made and an end (summary or conclusion that brings it all together). The summary or conclusion should in turn draw on the key points made in the middle of the presentation.

It has been said that you cannot win the business if you don’t ask for it. I am not sure that is absolutely true – but I am sure that if you don’t draw your key points together into a compelling point ands make it clear why your presentation should carry the day, the likelihood of it doing so is reduced significantly.


Structure your presentation in a way that takes the audience on a journey and then draw the key points into a simple a summary and conclusion

Do not ell the audience why you should win, but rather present the facts that support your winning and bring it all together at the end in a compelling value proposition.

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