January is the month of sales kick off events in companies (I see it in the Idea Transplant client inquiries). These presentations are usually for a very large audience, and are pretty important because they set the tone what the company will be doing for the next year. The good thing is that the audience is internal to the company, so you can encourage the speakers to take a bit more risk with the content than they would be doing for an external audience.

One challenge is to add a bit of humour and inspiration to all the sales target data. What used to be innovative a couple of years back (I am guilty myself as well) has become outdated and cliche:

  • (Random) inspirational quotes from famous people
  • (Random) inspirational quotes from business best seller authors
  • (Random) inspirational quotes from social media experts
  • Low res pictures of slap stick-type scenes that are forcefully linked to one of the concepts in the presentation
  • Cheesy stock images of people in suits (usually men) staring into the future, pondering whether to take the left or the right turn, pictures of applause, well, you have all seen them.

What to do differently? It is hard to say, but here are some pointers of what you can do.

I love it when presentations have an overall visual theme to it. It can be a movie, it can be an era (the 1950s), it can be a place, it can be an inside joke, something that happened in your company over the past year, it can be sport you enjoy, it can be a central analogy you are using in your presentation, it can be art (pssst, see my blog).

The advantage of the a theme is that all of a sudden all visuals can have some sort of consistent look. They appear to be similar and related. You all of a sudden have an infinite supply of visual material available to you. And also, it all of a sudden becomes a lot easier to put quotes and statements against a comic background. A bone-dry 2015 strategic goal repeated on a slide with an unexpected background image on the next page gives a nice opportunity for the audience to relax a bit. And all of this does not look or sound forced.

Try it!

Art: Frans Hals, The Lute Player, 1623

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