The Three P’s That Make The World Cup More Than Just Football

Wednesday, June 11th, 2014 by Simon Morton

Apparently something interesting will be starting tomorrow.

It’s called the World Cup and you may have heard some chatter about it.

So, ever keen to remain topical I have been tasked to blog about it and somehow make it relevant to business presentations. I’ve ventured into football once before when a certain Mr Klinsmann decided to use PowerPoint for strategy demonstrations (and whatever the results on the pitch, I’ll always be grateful to him for giving me an obvious hook to hang the blog on)!

Having established that I have very few credentials, I’m going to plough on regardless and see where we end up…

Obviously the football itself is a big part of The World Cup, but much like the Olympics the sport is not the whole story.

Even as someone who has never willingly watched a football match, there are a few (well four) things even I know about the World Cup. I know that England won it in 1966 and after that we’re down to the three P’s Paul, Pickles and Panini.

Paul is of course the psychic cephalopod that correctly ‘predicted’ the outcome of matches in the 2010 World Cup. Initially specialising in the assessment of German chances of victory, Paul went on the correctly predict the outcome of the Spain-Netherlands final.

Pickles was the dog that sniffed out the missing Jules Rimet Trophy in 1966 after it was stolen from a stamp exhibition (!) in Westminster. Unfortunately Pickles wasn’t on hand in 1983 was it was stolen for a second time (or was it)?

Panini are the makers of the sticker albums that have been a feature of the World Cup for as long as I can remember. I may have even been sucked in to collecting at some time in the early eighties (kids will do just about anything to fit in), but even at that tender age I could have told you what a couple of mathematicians from the University of Geneva have just worked out – that the economics of completing the album on your own are truly frightening.

So with Brazil 2014 upon us, how on earth can these three P’s help us be better at another one – presentations?

As I established at the beginning, I’m pretty much ambivalent about the game itself. But there are things associated with it that have piqued my interest and I’m always up for the sweepstake*.

The next time you present it may be worth considering that at least some of your audience will be a lot like me – not really interested in what you’re about to present.

It’s entirely plausible that they won’t be impressed by statistics (145 goals scored in the 2010 World Cup means nothing to me), and very likely that their enthusiasm will be pretty hard to ignite (although I’m keeping a keen eye of Terrence the Tortoise). While the main event won’t have much to interest me, some of the stuff lurking on the sidelines certainly will.

A tough crowd; but not an impossible one – if you take the time to try and understand them and create a story that means something to them.

Knowing what interests and motivates your audience will enable you to create a presentation that engages them and turning around a disinterested audience is one of the best (and most productive) experiences in business.

To find out more check out the Audience Heatmap section of The Presentation Lab book (page 210) or give us a ring.

1950 world cup

*When Bosnia and Herzegovina lift the cup in Brazil I, for one, shall be cock-a-hoop

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