On August 25th, Nextdoor Canada’s Country Manager, Christopher Doyle, unwittingly shook the Twitterverse when he posted pictures of his daughter’s presentation asking for a cat. Apparently, Chris’s children have been asking him to get them a cat but he had been reluctant. In her quest to convince her father, the youngster decided to make a PowerPoint presentation.
When Chris shared the presentation, he possibly thought this was going to be another funny content. But people on Twitter urged him to get the kids a kitten already. Even Microsoft was convinced by the presentation.
Now, the children are enjoying their time with their new cat, Tokyo!
As I followed this story, laughing hard at the numerous reactions from people across the world, I thought of the results professionals would record with their presentations if they applied some key techniques employed by this young champ to sway top consultants across the globe – just like this young girl made her father trend on Twitter.
I’ve decided to share 4 lessons I gleaned from her presentation. While you may not be pitching for a cat, these lessons could help you sell your ideas, products, or services effectively:
Keep it Short
Whether you’re pitching to your management or a client, the best presenters show they value their audience’s time. This means keeping it short and simple like Doyle’s daughter. With only 4 slides, she got her father and Twitizens excited. Most importantly, she got herself a cat. When making a persuasive speech, your goal is to get your audience excited enough to buy into you/your idea. You don’t need 100 slides to do that.
Keep it Concise and Clear
The goal of any presentation is to make your point clear, and to make it count. There cannot be any ambiguity or confusion, otherwise, you lose the attention of your audience. Throughout her presentation, it was clear what Doyle’s daughter wanted – a cat. Not a dog, not a rabbit, but a cat. Even when she referenced a hamster, it was to make her point clearer: “This time, Dad, we want you to get us a cat”. Before making an outline, ask yourself, “What do I want to achieve?” Then, use every part of your presentation to make your argument on why you should get it.
Keep it Relevant
To help you achieve your goal, every part of your presentation must be closely connected to the topic and/or the angle of your argument. If you’re not sure how to go about this, take a cue from Doyle’s daughter: having pets – of which a cat is one – can lower stress levels. I’ve done 5-year research on how to take care of a pet, so I got that part covered. All your children also want a cat...
See? Whether, you’re telling a story or quoting a statistic, ensure that it is related to your topic, and it helps you make your point. If it doesn’t, toss it out.
Keep it Pretty
Although the content of your presentation is a key element, it is not the only element. Your delivery is just as important. To make your presentation engaging, your design needs to be top-notch. ‘Top-notch’ doesn’t mean sophisticated. On the contrary, it means simple, coherent, easy-on-the-eyes, easy-to-understand, and on-brand. Most importantly, it should help you make your point.
At some point in your career, you’re likely to be asked to give a presentation. Other times, you may want to share an idea during meetings. While many people get nervous about this, you can leverage this opportunity to shine in front of your boss and colleagues. If Christopher Doyle’s daughter can win her father and Twitter over with her presentation, you can win your boss or senior management over with yours.