Don’t give a presentation – give an experience

A few days ago I attended a stomp event with a new connection of mine Peter Glahn. He facilitates corporate events where teams have fun stomping – creating rhythm on or with anything but real instruments.

He splits up a group into smaller teams, gives them different instruments and teaches them a rhythm. Then all teams connect into a massive noise of rhythm. It moves people, shakes them out of their comfort zones. There is no way your toes, knees or hips can avoid moving along the way. And it is fun.  

That experience made me think about personal styles and rhythms in teamwork and in presentations. How different personalities work and talk in different tunes. Do you know your tune and rhythm in your work habits or in your presentations? Have you ever drummed your bullet points? Do you even know if you match the band you play with?


Step up to stand out

Today companies spend a lot of time trying to increase engagement internally or externally with better presentations. They attend presentation technique training, design and body language courses and add video recordings to improve their performance. And the level is rising out there. Most companies know they have to step up to get heard.

This means that today, a great image filled and well-rehearsed presentation will level you with the rest of the speakers. It is no longer enough to run your cool Prezi slides. It takes more to stand out.


Go for the senses

It is time we step out of the power point comfort zone and think new – beyond traditional presentation technique. Go for more senses and emotions.

Obama slow jammed his news at the Jimmy Fallon show. Hans Rosling used IKEA boxes, apples or even his shoes to make a clear point and Bill Gates let out mosquitoes in the room to shake his audience. Some claim that Hitler used smell to put his audience in the right mood for his presentations.

Anthony Robbins uses light, music and even trainers on stage to make sure the audience gets energetic. It is fully controlled as if it was a concert. Not for fun. It controls emotions. Just like it does in shows and movies.

Have you ever smelled a particular smell that instantly brought you back in time? Have you ever heard that song that reminded you of a particular time of your life? If we combine more senses you reach more emotions. As Maya Angelou said:

“People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”


Disrupt your preparation

Start by changing your own preparation process. Consider you rhythm and style. Which music would you add to your slides? Which tune fits your messages? Do they have a colour? Which emotions do they connect with? You don’t have to actually add colour or music to the slides. It is a new way of thinking about your slides, to make you more aware of the emotions in your messages. Perhaps even listen to music while you prepare. Imagine you dance your messages and engage your own senses. This is the first step.

Then you can move towards considering the presentation settings. Could you make people touch something, smell something or listen to music? How about colours and light in the room? Consider the temperature and the seating. Should people sit at all? Or do you add breaks where you make them stand up? Start small and try things out and remember to make sense of it. Connect the movements/colours/music to your messages.  

So go ahead, start shaking those hips in your presentation preparation and stomp up your performance. If you don’t know where to start, give me a call.


Næsseslottet, Dronninggårds Allé 136, 2840 Holte
+45 30 25 19 00