How to give a great 2015 company kick-off presentation

The people in your company are one of your key competitive advantages, and the kick-off presentation you give can educate, inspire and motivate them, driving great results for the year ahead.

A recap on the passing year with an emphasis on what’s to come will solidify the company’s direction for your employees. The presentation should cover a review of 2014, a look ahead to your long-term goals and a focus on your 2015 goals and objectives.

Once you have this plan in mind, it’s time to begin writing and positioning your presentation. As you begin the process, there are three key elements you should bear in mind.

Understand your audience

Because you work with them every day, you may think you understand how to communicate to your employees, but it’s important to really think about how each individual is motivated when putting together a presentation about the year ahead.

Generally there are three types of people in any audience – factual, creative or emotional. Factual people want to see the detail quickly and understand the data behind the message.

Creative people are happy when they see a well-designed presentation and the 30,000ft view of the business. They don’t want the detail too quickly. Third are emotional-based people who judge you and your presentation very quickly based on your personality, body language, how you’re dressed and the first few slides of your presentation.

As such, you need to keep a balance of overview & detail in your presentation. Whether recapping 2014 or examining 2015, start from the top-line and dive into the detail where necessary.

Phil Jones, MD of information, communication and technology business Brother UK, has worked hard at honing how he uses the power of presentations to motivate.

“Just because you process information in one way doesn’t mean everyone does. It’s all about flexing your style. This is particularly important when presenting and the simplest way to think about it is ensuring your content appeals to both left and right brain dominant people,” he said

“The trick is to find a creative way to reach both audiences, through design and structure, so that everyone in the audience ‘gets it’, in the same room, at the same time. I do this by using presentation tools such as Prezi, which make it easy for visual people to digest your content. When combined with the right sequence for the logic thinkers, it really is a ‘no brainer’ for any company-wide presentation.”

Be a storyteller

It’s no surprise that we commonly use stories to help us remember important information. We are hard wired to listen to stories, to be affected and inspired by them.

Build the content for your presentation with this in mind. Storytelling is powerful; it changes how we think and feel about something. Book authors and movie scriptwriters have been using story structures for years to take us on emotional rollercoasters.

In any story, there are locations, characters, interests, tension points and resolutions to these tensions. Once the scene is set and engaging characters are introduced, a series of events occur ultimately leading to a satisfying resolution. This structure can be applied to your presentation as well. You can use it for a specific segment of the keynote or as an overarching framework depending on the need and content.

Read more on the art of presenting:

How to quickly remember your keynote content

Chances are, as a CEO or senior leader, you’ve given a lot of presentations. But even so, to stand up and talk for an hour without any notes or lots of on-screen text takes practice.

Alongside experience, there are some little-known techniques that memory champions and professional presenters use to help them give great presentation performances.

In a recent study, a team of neuroscientists worked out that memories are geo-tagged, linked a memory to a specific place. Memory champions know this and use a technique called Memory Palaces to help them remember huge amounts of information.

First, choose a location that you know like the back of your hand – your house, office, route to work etc. Next, link your keynote content to your location in a way that makes a sensible and easy to remember journey. Each room could be a section of the keynote, for example. For example, start outside your front door. This can remind you about the introduction before you start the presentation. You can see a door bell to remind you that you need to keep it short. You step in the house and see the mirror in the hallway. This prompts you to talk about the past year as a business. Different house objects can then remind you about other topics to discuss. If, for some reason, you lose where you are during the presentation then you can just remember where you are in the journey and pick it up from there.

Setting the company’s agenda with your employees does not have to be a daunting task. With these simple tricks, you should be able to kick off 2015 with a bang.

Spencer Waldron is European country manager at Prezi.

Image: Shutterstock

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