You’re playing all the right notes…

Tuesday, August 9th, 2011 by Simon Morton

Summertime in the UK means, amongst many things, countless repeats on TV.

Now we’re not the sort of business to grumble.  Indeed, sometimes the repeats on TV can be rather refreshing, such as the rerun of the classic Morecambe & Wise sketch with Andre Previn.

In this classic sketch, Eric utters the immortal line “I’m playing all the right notes…but not necessarily in the right order” (scroll through to 5:00 to jump to this…although we’d recommend enjoying the entire sketch).

All very amusing but what’s this comedy gold got to do with presentations?

Here at Eyeful we’re often called into companies to “rescue” their presentations.

As you can imagine, this can be a bit of a sensitive one to manage – despite their best intentions, the stakeholders in the business are bemused by the failure of their carefully honed presentation.

They worked hard – sweating over each bullet point, making sure all bases were covered in terms of hard facts and technical specifications and even passing it over to their design company to make the slides look pretty.

Yet the presentation failed to hit the mark.  Why?

Just like a piece of music, a presentation needs to flow and connect with an audience.  This requires a cohesive message and a strong structure to allow it to move forward elegantly.

If you think of your presentation CONTENT as MUSICAL NOTES, it all becomes obvious.

In music, it’s often as much about which notes you take out as what you leave in – too many notes just creates a noise.  Much the same goes for presentations – too much “freeform content” will detract from the message.

To quote Charles Mingus:

“Anyone can make the simple complicated.  Creativity is making the complicated simple”.

Next time you’re creating a presentation, think of Eric at the piano facing an exasperated “Andrew Preview” – are all your “musical notes” necessary?  If so, are they in an order that will appeal to your audience?

Tags: , , , , , ,

Leave a Reply