Don’t delegate Story-telling to any device.

MICKAEL BAY

January 6, 2014, the CES in Las Vegas, the Mecca of new technology. American film director Michael Bay is the front man for the Samsung presentation. For the South Korean company in the land of Apple the stakes are sky high. At this precise moment, everyone who is anyone in the world of telecommunications and media specialists have their eyes on Bay.

His autocue fails. Bam! A total blank. This man whose job it is to tell stories is forced to limp off stage (click on the thumbnail to watch the video). For what it’s worth, Samsung created a buzz …

How could this happen, after all those rehearsals? Everything had been delegated to the autocue, just like some sales presentations rely too heavily on PowerPoint. When the prop snaps, everything collapses. This is a chance to get back to basics, to convince a human being nothing is worth more than a human being. The presenter is the media. The media is the message. The stories, the story-telling, must be incarnated by the one telling it. All those bullet-points should be nothing more than little reminders for those whose minds suddenly go blank for an instant for no reason. Supporting visuals are certainly useful points of reference, as long as they reference points made by a human being.

Michael Bay should have better prepared himself for a worst-case scenario – i.e. a technological breakdown. A few years ago, a prospect scheduled for the three finalists for a tender to present their final arguments. We spent hours working on our presentation. On the morning in question we were due to go first. At 9.07 am there was an electrical blackout in the entire building. The prospect told us: “Since we are all here and some of you have come from quite some way, we will go ahead with the presentations. There is a flip chart at your disposal and you will have 20 minutes instead of the 45 minutes planned. So let’s get straight to the point.”

For those who have prepared properly, the “worst case scenario” becomes the “best case scenario”. We lost the contract. Since then we have completely rethought our presentation tools.

François Drillon, EXECUTIVE SELLING (www.executive-selling.com)

THE THREE

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