Have your cake and eat it too: How to ensure your prospects are really listening

That age old conflict of want vs need is alive and well. If we humans aren’t engaged in what is happening around us, we revert to our natural mind set – you guessed it, food and sex.  

We wanted to shed some light on how tapping into that raw human need whilst delivering content to an audience will keep your audience engaged in your brand. 

It will come as no surprise that most people who sit through presentations at work are left underwhelmed. Sitting through a presentation can be seen as a chore, or an excuse to switch off for 5 minutes. 

In a world where sales presentations are too often filled with chunks of text, endless bullet points and uninspiring images, the phase “death by PowerPoint” has become an all-too-common cliché.  

As a leading PowerPoint agency, we took this personally. So, we wanted to dive a little deeper into how the working world currently react to presentations. We asked office workers how often they listened to work presentations, as well as how long it usually takes them to start losing focus.  

Strap in, here are the results. 

Presentations are work

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Something our survey confirmed is that presentations continue to play a significant role in our working lives, with respondents listening to an average of 1.95 presentations at work per week. However, 55.7% of people listen to at least 2. In fact, over 16% of our respondents attend more than 3 presentations at work every week. That is a lot of content to digest! 

When we delved a little deeper, it became clear just how quickly our respondents lose their focus during these presentations, we’ve all been there! 

Drifting off 

We found that on average it took just 10.71 minutes for people to drift off during a presentation at work. Half of those we interviewed couldn’t even last that long. 48.7% said their minds start to drift off less than 10 minutes into a work presentation.  

When you consider the average length of a presentation and the fact that most people listen to at least 2 presentations a week, yet they only remain focused for around 10 minuteshours of time and energy are wasted.  

When focusing specifically on sales presentations, this means that after the first 10 mins of your pitch, half your audience aren’t listening. Not ideal. You wouldn’t run half a billboard ad, or only send half an email. Your presentations are no different.  

The mind wanders… 

With over half the audience not engaged, what are they thinking about? Our findings were quite interesting.  

These were their responses: 

  • 64.1% of those we asked said they think about other work they need to do 
  • 53.0% think about food 
  • 49.5% think about plans for the weekend 
  • 38.7% think about their relationships 
  • 36.8% think about what they’re going to watch in the evening 
  • 33.2% think about their other jobs 
  • 31.0% of our respondents’ minds jump straight to sex. 

At the end of the day, we are presenting to real people, not robots. And people are complicated, emotional beings.  

Our top tips  

These are of course general trends and do not need to be the case for your business. The solution to this worrying problem is simple: make better presentations.

  • Treat your sales deck like any other social encounter, first impressions count! You have a 10-minute window to get attention from your audience, build trust and sell your idea before people’s minds start to wander.  
  • Front-load your deck. Don’t save your best, or most impactful slides/ideas to the end of the presentation. Kick off with a bang, provoke attention and engage your audience from the get-go. 
  • Create a narrative. By using storytelling, people will naturally follow your presentation. Human beings are wired to understand and emotionally connect with a story.  
  • Use a menu – this way you can cut to the chase, work out what your audience wants to here and tailor your content. PowerPoint presentations should not just work in a straight line. 

This is where professionally designed PowerPoints can be a game-changer. Investing in impressively designed slides, or a custom-built company template, can make uninspiring work presentations become impactful, engaging and successful. 

It’s what we do. Talk to us about we help you engage your audience, Win Bigger, Sell More & Present Better