With a thriving career as a consumer expert and brand strategist, Sabine Massaad knows a thing or two about the pitfalls of public speaking. While the substance of the talk may not be immediately obvious as traditional content for the WebExpo stage, make no mistake, this session really struck a chord. With Sabine’s enviable PowerPoint abilities (and these skills aren’t just for PowerPoint), she also knows how to create an engaging and interesting presentation so that her audience remains captivated throughout. Something you’ll see for yourself in her WebExpo appearance, as she shares her secrets on how to present anything impeccably, every time.
We can all relate to the stories of “death-by-powerpoint” that Sabine shares during the opening of her talk, along with examples of overcrowded and unengaging slides that, all too often, became the norm during the pandemic. The scenario of sitting complacently in home offices (or dining tables), nodding along as the presenter left everyone un-enamoured about the topic at hand. This is why Sabine shared her thoughts on the matter during her own presentation; telling us why she feels it’s important that if you are going to spend time dialling in or joining a meeting, it needs to be worth the time and effort you take to do so.
So what’s the secret to not being one of those presentations?
Treat any and every presentation like a pitch
Whether you’re sharing a status update with your team, providing quarterly financial updates or even a product update, Sabine’s first top tip is that you PITCH it!
To break that down, here’re the things you should consider when presenting anything and everything:
P – People – who is your audience?
I – Information – what are you presenting?
T – Time – how much time are you given for your talk?
C – Craft – how can you make your presentation creative?
H – Heart – why are you doing the presentation?
The “People” element of pitch, during Sabine’s talk, is referred to as the “audience”, or those you are presenting to. With the belief that “If you can’t turn yourself into your audience, you probably shouldn’t be in the presenting business at all.”
By this, Sabine is suggesting that you should gain insight from attendees of the presentation in advance so that you can gauge what kinds of information they’re looking for from you, as the presenter. However, if you don’t have the ability to do that, use what you already know to your advantage.
Her final point of the “people” section is that, as a presenter, you may need to adapt your strategy to keep your audience engaged. Always be on the lookout for a change in engagement or your attendees’ body language and adapt accordingly.
During the WebExpo presentation, Sabine shared a sentence starter that she uses as a tool, whereby she asks herself a series of questions, as an audience member for a presentation. The idea is to try to identify how she, as the presenter, can address those issues and give attendees exactly what they’re looking for.
Now that you’ve got an understanding of your People, it’s time to consider the Information you’re wanting to relay. As a presenter, you may have the natural urge to share all of the information you have available, thereby filling your slides with lots of overwhelming text that can leave your audience feeling overloaded. Sabine shared how we can address this problem by being more selective with the information we choose to share.
Sabine suggested that you ask yourself 3 questions:
- What should I show?
- What should I say?
- What should be sent?
‘Show’, ‘say’ and ‘share’ are the high-level pillars that you should lean on when setting up your slides. To delve further into each of these questions, watch the full presentation from Sabine in the WebExpo video. Just remember that should be strategic with your decisions on what you show, say and share.
Sabine finished this section with the reminder that you don’t want to treat your slides like note cards and keep the text light.
Sabine shared with us the way she personally tries to structure her time slot if she has a presentation to make, so that you can really make the most of your time all whilst keeping your audience engaged.
For a 30-minute slot, she would suggest breaking your presentation down into:
- Part 1
- Part 2
- Part 3
- Conclusion and next steps
During these steps, she recommends that you take time to allow the audience to play (absorb the information), pause (reflect on the information) and process (take in the information).
During this section of the talk, Sabine shared with us the importance of being creative with your presentation – using whatever design tools are available to you, whether that be Power Point, Canva, Adobe or whichever platform you feel most comfortable using, to create eye-catching and captivating slides.
Extending on this point, Sabine also shared the importance of adapting the Craft portion of your “pitch” to suit the requirements of your audience/customer. For example, if you’re working with a more high-profile, luxury brand, you’ll want to upscale the imagery and artwork.
For inspiration, Sabine recommends the following design tools:
- Entavo Elements
- Creative Market
- Noun Project
To get more tips from Sabine on mastering the Craft portion of your presentations, watch the full video.
During her final point, Sabine quoted Simon Sinek, stating: “People don’t care what you do, they care why you do it.” With the belief that, if you don’t believe in what you’re presenting yourself, then there’s no reason the audience should believe in it either. It needs to come from the Heart.
So, Sabine suggested that you should begin your presentation by letting the audience know why you’re presenting to them and help them to understand what they’re going to get out of it.
If you’ve found this guide useful, you can get further details and tips from Sabine Massaad by watching the video below, so that she can show you how to “give the pitch of a lifetime” with her helpful guidance.
In addition, if you’re looking for professional consultation, get in touch with Sabine directly via LinkedIn. As part of our WebExpo 2023 rehearsals, Sabine gave a master-class practice presentation and was happy to help coach other participants with clear insights and tips. We couldn’t recommend her enough.