Flatlining 2: Right gives your presentations some heartbeat

The essential difference 
between emotion and reason 
is that reason leads to conclusions,

while emotion leads to action.

Neurologist Donald Galne

Not long after publishing the last Blog, Flatlining: Senior managers does your presentation have a heartbeat? my phone rang. Jo Madden, HR Manager from one of our best customers was on the line. “In presentations, another way to look at adding emotion to logic, is to adding right-brain thinking to left-brain thinking”, said Jo. That was another interesting perspective on Flatlining.

Jo is an expert on applying whole brain thinking to all aspects of business. She is a certified practitioner with Herman Brain Dominance Instrument (HBDI). So, it’s no surprise to get that insight.

Anyway her call reminded me of a couple of other useful ideas. First, with whole brain thinking we ask and answer four questions. From the left brain we ask What? And How? ; Then from the right brain Who? And Why?

In many presentations, we use only logic and only answer the left brain questions: What and How? To give our presentations a heartbeat we need to answer some right brain questions too.

The first right brain question is Who? This question covers two elements: who will be affected and who will be involved. Talking about specific people and showing pictures of people adds some emotion and right brain thinking to our presentation.

The second right brain question is Why? In my experience, this is often the most neglected aspect of presentations. Senior Managers are often quick to answer What and How, while the audience is distracted asking themselves the question: Why do we need to do anything?

Recently, the Why question has got some attention because Simon Sinek has written a book: Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action. Save yourself time, don’t read the book, watch the TED talk. Just 18 minutes long and nearly 17 million views, so well worth a look.

From a practical perspective, to include right brain thinking and to trigger emotion, ensure you connect to the big picture: what is happening with customers and competitors. Also, connect with long term objectives. What is your strategy? What are your goals beyond this financial year?

My strong advice is answer the Why question in your first two slides. If you do this well, then the audience is enthusiastic to hear the answers to the What question and the How Question.

Using visuals throughout and answering the Who question throughout will sprinkle the spice of right brain thinking and emotion throughout your presentation. So, adding right brain thinking gives you a presentation with a heartbeat.   

For help adding some right brain perspective take a look at http://www.gordianbusiness.com.au/pitching-for-results/ or contact gary@gordianbusiness.com.au or call us on +61 2 9450 1040. We would love to hear your thoughts on this, so please leave your comments below and subscribe to our blog top right.