We’ve been thinking a lot about an article from Neuromarketing titled “Stories Synchronize Brains.” Researchers have discovered that:
…when one person tells a story and the other actively listens, their brains actually begin to synchronize.
This synchronization only happens when the story is clear and the listener is attentive. This is obviously important for presentations, and reinforces the claim that slides should tell stories. It also emphasizes another important point, which is that the goal of a live presentation is for the speaker to connect with the audience on a personal level. This can determine the success or failure of the sale.
The article goes on to state:
If one can engage the audience or sales prospects to the point where their brains are mirroring (or even anticipating) one’s own brain activity, they are clearly fully engaged. In this condition, one is far more likely to be successful, whether the objective is to inform or convince. And, pending further research on this “mind meld” phenomenon, we know that at least stories can cause the brains of speakers and listeners to synchronize.
So to be successful (in terms of getting the sale), presentations must both tell a story and get out of the way of the speaker. This is challenging to accomplish for one person, and becomes even more difficult as a company tries to scale this across a global sales team. We’ve all seen too many presentations where the slides are confusing and draw attention away from the speaker.
Taking this concept one step further: stories and images stay with an audience in the weeks and months after a meeting. This is what causes them to remember the message and to take the next steps. When combined with trust in the sales person and a personal connection, the result is often a sale.
The sales person’s goal must therefore be to inform and entertain. It is the job of the marketing team to provide the tools necessary to accomplish this. The key ingredients are good, clear slide design and a flexible system to manage slides and customize presentations.
Mike Lingle / @mike_lingle
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