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She’s shared her trade secrets with me
(she was a journalist and now she’s a communications consultant). 
Here’s what I learnt from her whilst I was putting together a strategic presentation for my client
“Not everything in the findings is worth sharing in the boardroom presentation: distil!” Gillian genuinely puts together presentations – not debriefs - and these are two different things – the presentation is communication about the strategic direction and decisions the business needs to make. That’s not the same thing as research findings.
“Each step of the presentation builds on another” walk the top team through your argument, one step at a time, and make sure that you are going in a forwards direction. 
A presentation won’t be a set of chapters or discrete ideas, it will always be a pathway of connected insights
“Each step takes you somewhere new: no back-tracking” the flow will go if you revert back to an earlier idea – this ‘constraining format’ will help you to distil too (remember, you should have your findings, a bigger output elsewhere, where the ‘research objectives’ are covered off in detail, this is about focusing on the insight that matters for the business decision)
“Each step points to some evidence: verbatim, video, industry source” Way back in ’69 Edgar Schein argued there are two types of experts: technical experts (like architects) and process experts; we’re process experts which means that we don’t have the right to be trusted or believed without ‘back-up’ to our claims
“Each negative point gives way to a positive” if you have a bunch of bad news findings, make sure these are presented before the good news. Weight the front end of your presentation with obstacles and barriers so that there is a hinge-point, where you can turn the presentation around emotionally to make the sun shine with all the good news you have. So use light and shade just like in the dramatic arts.
Stickability is enhanced by being simple; concrete; credible; unexpected; emotional and by telling stories (read the Heath Brothers’ Made to Stick for more on this) always think about how you can make the communication compelling and fresh. Gillian is a fan of FOAM too: play with Facts, Opinions, Anecdote and Metaphor and you will be communicating more memorably.
You get to an ending based on clear evidence. Done properly your uses of evidence will propel you to the end of your presentation – you won’t be relying on charisma or presentation skills – it will be force of your argument that the audience are captivated with. The CEO will be thinking with you along the lines of your evidence and ‘you’ will not get in the way.
Gillian is on hand to work on projects that require communication impact (directly for you or with me as a Streetmate). If you need to transform a debrief into a strategic presentation, then she’s here to help. Next time you need an insight project that has to have boardroom impact do get in touch!
I’ve been stupidly busy this month, so my heavy academic reading has been shelved to next month. Next month’s mailer will be about analysing conversations. I promise!

I’m delighted to be working with 2 Sisters Food Group for the first time on a really comprehensive category wide piece. I’m already really impressed with the time and effort they have put in to make the project a success by really landing the briefing and background stage of the project.
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