Michael Sinnhuber is the king of Presentations. He helps people to stand out in a world of boring presentations. He’s helped people to win the game of presentations and sales and in turn has helped entrepreneurs and B2B businesses over the last years to win six, seven, and eight figure deals simply by designing and creating these unboring presentations and communications.
Dylis: Hi, there and welcome to the Inspired Selling Podcast with me Dylis Guyan. Once again, I have another fantastic guest for you today and that is Michael Sinnhuber. Now, let me just tell you about Michael, I’m really excited to be talking to him. Michael is the king of presentations. He helps people to stand out in a world of boring presentations. As the king of presentations, he has helped people to win the game of presentations and sales by creating those unboring presentations and sales conversations, and in fact has helped entrepreneurs, B2B businesses over the last years to win six, seven, and eight figure deals simply by designing and creating these unboring presentations and communications. So, Michael welcome. I’m so excited to talk more to you and find out what your magic dust is around presentations.
Michael: Yeah, hello Dylis. Thanks for having me.
Dylis: You’re welcome, absolutely welcome. So, we’re talking around the B2B space; business to business. So, let’s start really by looking at the different types of presentations that you work on for companies.
Michael: Okay so, in the B2B space there are typically two to three different variations of presentations. So, I would say the easiest one is what you typically call a company presentation where a company just tells about what they are doing, in which area they work in, which products they have and all that sort of stuff.
This is typically the most boring part of presentations and the other part would be everything that is kind of a sales presentation. So, where you have a deal coming up or you have a pitch presentation or something like that where you have people sitting next to you where you just want to convince them of your services, of your product, but in a special way in a deal situation, in a pitch situation.
This is typically the situation where you have two, three, four, five other companies or people presenting so you’re in kind of a fight against them and you have to stand out from all the others to win this game. And especially to win the game for the attention of your audience which is the people doing the deal with you typically. So, those are the two main differences.
You can use a company presentation or a product presentation at a sales booth when you’re at a trade fair or something like that but it’s always kind of the same. On the other hand you can also use the other part a pitch presentation at a sales booth telling a story for example, and if you have that running on your screen in the back of your sales booth, it can tell a story and it can help just people to stand in front of your booth and just watch what’s going on here and then it can start a conversation in that. So, those are typically the two types of presentations that we are doing.
Dylis: I remember very clearly being involved both from the giving and the receiving end of what I refer to as a beauty parade. So, inviting companies in to pitch to you and, I mean, some of them like come on; it’s all about me, me, me, self, self, self, company, company, company, product, product, product. And I’ve been actually presenting at these beauty parades where I’ve been invited in to present myself, my offering and what I can do for them. So, I’d be really interested to see how many ticks I get in the box of being track. But I guess at the end of the day it’s winning the deal.
Michael: Yeah, I mean, actually what you said is one of the big difference is that if you want to make something, a presentation unboring, you just have to change your view on the presentation. So, a presentation is never about you or your company, it’s always about what’s in it for your audience. As you just said, you said what you can do for them is totally different if you say, like, “This is my product, and this is like it has this, this, this, this, this, this, this feature” and it’s what they call feature f@#+ing them.
So, nobody’s actually interested in features, they’re all just interested in what’s in it for them, how can it help them to solve their issue, to solve the problem and to solve any situation in their life or in their business. So, this is what makes a big, big difference and which helps you, it’s just one thing but if you think different of presentations then you will stand out in one way.
Dylis: It’s really good selling. It’s the principles of good selling isn’t it? It’s not about you it’s all about them. So, why…I mean, obviously a good presentation is going to help you to secure the deal, but have you got any examples of some really poor presentations that you’ve been involved in or when companies have come to you that could help?
Michael: Well, the thing is…it would actually be easier to find some good ones, but I also have some bad ones. I have two examples of bad ones. Once is, I haven’t been there, but I heard that from the CEO of Prezi and he said that within, I don’t say the name, within a big, big US company dealing with cars, he said they had a presentation with 250 or 300 slides. And one of the engineers said like, on slide 150 they said like, “We have an issue with the car key. So, it could be that the car key falls off while driving which could cause accidents; terrible accidents.” But as it was on slide 150 or something nobody noticed it. But around three or four months later they really had the problem so it was going and there were even people buying because the keys fell off and then they said, “Why didn’t anybody say that we have this issue?” And some of the engineers must have known that and they said like, “It is in the presentation, but nobody knows because it was somewhere scrambled below a shed load of information.” And so, it was just buried there, and nobody saw it.
So, this is just one example where it gets really, really bad, and the other one was where I’ve been there, it was actually an evening event, of a big event agency around Christmas time. So, they had kind of a Christmas Eve and the theme was feel and smell, so they had really…they had around 450 people there. And then what typically happens at evening events, everybody is walking in coming from his own job and then saying like, “Okay, is there something to eat?” Yeah, there is something to eat but somebody have to kind of open the buffet. So, what they did, they said, “Okay, we have feel and smell. We get somebody in the presentation who tells us what feel, and smell means from a body point of view.
So, they got a professor from a university and she was just doing an academic presentation on how the nose, and the smell and all those things happen. So, what happened is she had a typical bullet point presentation and after around…and she was reading the slides, so after around 30 seconds the noise level was growing and after around two minutes we couldn’t even heard her speak although she had a microphone.
So, the thing is, the whole event was fabulous. I mean, they did everything to get our attention. It was really fabulous. But the only thing or one of the main things that I remember and that I tell everyone is the poor presentation that she had and actually, I guess, a lot of people in there they were just waiting for somebody to open the buffet so then nobody was listening to her. So, it was really, really bad. So, it was really kind of harming the whole event, as the whole event itself was really good but this bad presentation was really harming it.
And I could go on, on and on in conferences you have people that are really great in what they do from a knowledge point of view but if they don’t present that well. It’s just like you think you’ve been eight hours in a conference and you wouldn’t remember anything because of the bad way or the boring way that they are presenting. This can really harm your credibility as an event organiser for example. Yeah, so those are just some examples of really…and what a bad presentation can do to you.
Dylis: Yeah, and there’s a couple of things there, so you’re telling me about this great event and yet you have the memory of that really poor presentation that you’re sharing with me now.
Michael: But that’s not what the event organiser wanted, right?
Dylis: Yes, indeed. And I’m sure you found this too, but I’ve worked with a lot of technical sales people, and because I run open courses and often I have technical sales there. Even if they didn’t tell me I would know they were technical sales because of the technical detail that they go into which of course in a presentation is so boring. And I know that you’ve got techniques and way of being able to present that sort of thing without 150 slides, I mean, who wants to be bored with 150 slides anyway? But the technical people…and actually it’s not their fault because that is their area of expertise so that’s what they feel they have to tell everybody. And it’s quite a shift for them, it’s quite a mind shift for the technical sales people. Have you found that yourself?
Michael: Yeah, this is true actually for tech people as well as for consultants and the whole stuff because they think the more information they add the more it adds up to their credibility. So, if they add a lot of information a lot of tech information or as consultants typically do add a lot of figures in there, facts and figures like, “I have 150 slides of facts and figures, what I’ve done for you.” So, just to give them, so like, “I’ve worked for you and this is what I did.”
But actually, this is where you always have to divide between a presentation and a documentation. So, in a documentation you have to go into all the details. So, if the tech people say like, “This is what we found out,” or “This is what we do,” or “This is what we sell,” or ” This is what the…what our products can do,” then it can all be in a documentation like in a data sheet or something but it’s not good to have that in a presentation. I’ve been there because I’ve worked for HP for quite some time in the corporate space and when we had or we got a new printer setup or printer line-up it was always like, “This is the new printer X and it does 32 pages per minute and then you have the next one doing 34 and the next one 36,” and I was like, “Oh my God, I have 300 slides of presentation and now you want me to go out to our resellers and tell them that we have a 150 printers that are only divided by two or three pages that they do in a minute? No, that’s not what they are interested in.” So, this is always like, what is the one thing? What is the key message that you’re delivering then put that in a presentation and put all the facts and figures and all that stuff in a documentation and then hand the documentation out in a different…
Dylis: That is a great bit of advice actually. That is great advice.
Michael: And the thing is why any people are struggling with this is that they say, “I do a presentation and I send this presentation out as a hand out as well.” So, and if you do that you’re just mixing up two different things, you’re mixing like a document with a presentation, and if you do two different things in one way it’s always…it’s never good for any of them. So, always just split that, one is a presentation, the other one is a documentation and then everything’s good. But I see, like you said, tech people it’s really, really hard for them. Basically like, “Yeah, you marketing people, yeah, I know you. For you it’s all just fun and you just want to entertain people and all that stuff, but we do real…”
Dylis: But they’re the nitty gritty.
Michael: Yeah, and that’s what they’re good at actually.
Dylis: Yes, of course it is, that’s their area of expertise but I have to say that it’s not just tech people, there is still many sales people, many and many sales people who are still focused on product and giving the nth degree of detail on product. So, would you say then Michael that the rules are the same for all presentations?
Michael: Yes, I would just…if you make it easy I would say yes because if you put that one goal in it say like, what’s in it for your audience, it’s always you have to think of your audience. So, the audience will differ. There will be different audiences out there depending on in which area you are but it’s always “What issue does my audience have? What do they have and how can my product, my service help them?” Then you just shift the thought and if you do it that way, it will be the same for every presentation. It doesn’t matter if you a PowerPoint or Prezi or something like it behind you or if you just use a whiteboard or a flip chart or whatever or if you don’t have anything at all it’s all about what’s your core message, how does that core message help your audience and how do you get that across. So this is typically the same for every presentation where you want to convince people of your services.
Dylis: So, if we look at your top tips then and we start at the beginning and I guess what you’ve just…you’ve said there really is preparation is key and understanding your audience whether it be to one-person, multiple people or a room, it’s understanding who that audience is and then getting into their shoes.
Michael: Planning is actually the key part of the whole presentation. So, of course, many people say like, “Oh my God, when I’ve got to go on a stage I’m so nervous or something,” I mean, this is one part of doing it. But if you have prepared your presentation in the right way, you are prepared to walk on a stage. I mean, you have to do that often, it’s not like there is no magic pill in presenting, not on the planning side and not on the delivering side, there is no magic pill you just have to put in the work, so hands down for this. But if you do that right then you can deliver that.
I just want to give you one example of a company that I’ve worked for. They had a product where they did 15 studies that showed that the product worked in the way that they said. And the guy, the sales guy was coming up to me and said like, “We know that this product is really, really, really good and it does what we say it does, but I have the feeling that we always lose people on the way to telling them how good it is.
And at the end of the presentation they just asked the question: how much is it? And then we say the price and it’s not a cheap product and they say like, “I get this one cheaper from other companies,” and then I say like, “Let me look into this.” So, what we did in that presentation is, so they had really lot of information in there, so we just shifted with what we started. It was kind of…we said like, “What is the issue of the…” in this case it was…the audience where farmers, so what is the issue of the farmer? And then I said like, “Okay, dear farmer I know you have an issue in that and that case, and now I tell you how I can help you.”
And when you start like this…so starting is one of the important things; so start with something attention grabbing, so like a question or you say like, “I know what your issue is,” or you start with a small story or something like that. And that is like, “Okay tell me,” he said like, “You said you have a solution for me so now tell me,” and then he tells his story about how they came to this etc. And at the end of the day when he says, “He believes in your story” then you can leave those 15 studies behind you because he doesn’t want to see them because he already believes that you can help him, and when he believes that you can solve his issue he’s not asking for the price and this is what sales is all about. Everybody is like, “I want to raise my prices,” but you have to put in the value for your audience so that they can pay the price. And if you just want to do it cheaper than anybody else you will always lose in the long term, maybe even in the short run.
Dylis: Yes, yes, indeed and that’s so spot on. You start talking about your product and people will say, “How much?” And then you’re in the price war and then you’re trying to argue as to why they should use yours but they’re not seeing the value in it, they’re not seeing the problems that we’ve solved, and the value of those problems being solved because it goes beyond that as well, doesn’t it?
I remember working for a company and we were talking about…we weren’t talking about my sales programs we were talking about their situation of not hitting their sales targets and the low morale and the turnover of staff and the cost of the turnover of staff and so on, and I secured that contract. But one of the questions I asked them was, “And so, what would be the benefit of when of do hit your targets?”
And so, it wasn’t just about stemming that flow of leavers in the company, it was about the bottom-line profit they would then make. So, it was all of those tangible things but about the bottom-line profit which would also enable them to renew their machinery and it would bring them ahead of their competitors and so on. It was really those sorts of things when I was asking questions that got them to think about that. So, it’s not just the problem that would be solved it would be…it’s the value that the solving of that problem brings. I think people have a difficulty getting that into their mind when they’re coming to do a presentation.
Michael: Definitely. And as you said it it’s the same for a presentation or for a sales discussion. If you shift it that way, you’re shifting the whole conversation. So, if you say like, “This is my product,” then everybody they would just ask, “How much is it?” And then you are arguing, and this is what people; and you said it from the tech people, but everybody does it. Then you just tell them why your product is that good and then what you do is you tell them 10 or 20 or 50 features that your product has that can help them but they don’t see the value that this would have on their business. But if you come from the value perspective, as you just said, and is like…if you’re asking questions and they you show them the value and then after, I don’t know, 15, 20, 30 minutes they will never ask for the price, they would just say like, “Where can I sign?”
Dylis: Yes, yes, indeed.
Michael: And this is what everybody wants.
Dylis: So, we know the preparation’s absolutely critical. Now, let’s say you that you decide to do a slide presentation. Now, this is if you’re presenting on what I refer to as the beauty parade where companies ask three or four companies to come in and present or even if you’re on a stage and you’re doing a talk, and you decided to do your slides, what are your top tips for putting a slide deck together?
Michael: Well, I mean, the thing is I’m a big fan of Prezi so I’m quite open to that. So…
Dylis: So, tell us what Prezi is then Michael because…
Michael: Prezi. So, the difference…everybody knows PowerPoint or keynote and those are the so called slide based presentation programs because you have a slide and when the slide is full then you have another slide, and another, and another, and it’s kind of in a…it’s a linear part of your slides that you have.
In comparison to this Prezi has one, what they call, a big canvas. So, you can imagine it like a whiteboard and you put everything you have on that whiteboard and then you have kind of like a camera to show the details. So, you select, you zoom out and you show the overview and then you zoom in to a topic and you can show the other things.
It doesn’t matter if you use Prezi, PowerPoint, Keynote or any other software. One of the big things that you always have to think of is people, or people’s attention can always be at one spot at one time. So, if they see something on the screen, they will watch the screen and will not listen what you’re talking to. And as more…the more you put on that screen, the longer you will not have the attention of the audience.
So, if you put what, a lot of people do, just put bullet points, you have a title and then you have five, or six or seven bullet points down there, you know that people will just read out what they see on the screen and at the time that they’re reading they will not listen to you. So, if you want attention as a speaker, and this is what you typically want because it’s a presentation, you’re in the present moment and that’s why you’re here, you have to always make sure that anything that’s up on your screen and the screen behind you is just helping what you say, but it’s not the same what you say. And the worst thing that you can do is just turn around and read your slides. So, this is actually the worst thing that you can ever do.
So, my tip would be: put up as less information as possible so everybody knows like less is more but I know that for many people finding the less in their message, in their topic and so on and so forth is really the hardest thing. So, what I always say is don’t do presentation like a copy and paste from things together and then say like, “Okay, I need a few images,” and you put a few images on your fully packed slides, but do it the other way around so say like, “Okay, what’s in it for my audience?” is the first thing, so what is my core message that I can deliver and then write that down on a piece of paper.
And then just build your story and stories another really important word for this, build your story around this. What is the issue of the people that they have? How can you solve the issue? And you have one big story from start to end and you have many smaller stories where you say like, “Oh, I’ve been there,” and something like that within that.
And if you visualise that in a form, just use big images and no text at all, if possible, or only really small fractions like titles or something like that. And then only one idea per slide. So, not seven ideas on like, “This is my topic and I have it all on one slide,” because the more you put on a slide the smaller it is and the smaller it is the less the people can read it. And the worst thing that you can have…that you can hear yourself say on a stage is, “Oh, I’m sorry, I think I might…you might not be able to read what’s on there. But if you could read it, you know what that it would say.”
So, if you hear yourself say this you just like…I always say like a big hole should open in the Earth and you just go down this hole because this is one of the worse things that you can say on a stage because they say like, “Okay, he didn’t prepare for this. He didn’t prepare for a big room where, I don’t know, 20, 40, 50 meters and then they can’t read what’s on there. So, in a nutshell, do your preparation good and then visualise it in a very visual way like big, big images with as less text as possible and only one idea per slide.
Dylis: Okay, excellent. So, would you ideally say, just to a graphic, just a picture and no text?
Michael: There is a saying like, “If a presentation is of no value to somebody seeing it without the presenter then it’s a good presentation.
Dylis: Sorry, say that again to me Michael.
Michael: If you send out the presentation and without the presenter nobody knows what it’s all about then it’s actually a good presentation because all the content will be done in a…vocal by the presenter itself. So, if you just do images like if you say you have a presentation that is 30 slides and it’s only images so nobody will know what you are talking about with those images.
But if you do that with your story and fill it out with your stories and you just have the images in the back they will just like, ” Oh my God, this is great they just see the image and they see okay there’s an image, so what is he/she telling me about that image? So, you’re shifting the audience back to the presenter and this is just like the image is just giving some emotion that’s coming through on that topic but everything that’s content based is always coming from the presenter.
So, I will say like a slide could be like a billboard. So, if you drive by billboard is like, how many seconds do you have to read or to see to understand what’s on that billboard, it’s typically around one, two, three seconds depending on how fast you go, but it’s typically one to three seconds. So, and if you see your slides like a billboard, like you have to really make it easy, make it with less content so that everybody can understand in a very short fraction of time what is it all about then it’s kind of an image with a title and everything else will come from the presenter.
Michael: Or just an image itself.
Dylis: So, would you see a training presentation being different that you would put some text on for those who are visual learners?
Michael: Yeah, a training presentation would definitely be different because it’s not like convincing somebody of something you have. Sometimes you just put on, you have to put on, some text because you want to add some examples or something like that. So, a training presentation would definitely be different and but same is true for training presentation as it is for the others. If you want to give them all the information, you put it in a document and do the training presentation differently than the document.
But you’re right, a training presentation could be different. But if you do a training presentation in kind of a big story from like this is the starting point and this is the ending point. So, always start with the end in mind then it could be a big story and you have a lot of small stories in there where you just say like you’re talk about your experiences and people you worked with and all that stuff because this is actually what’s spicing up the presentation, what makes it really interesting for people when they see like, “Ah, okay this is not somebody who is sitting on a desk every day and not have worked with the real life. So, she has real life experiences and she tells about…this is actually what spices it up and this is what people remember often.
Dylis: Excellent, excellent. Michael, this has been really great. I’ve thoroughly, thoroughly enjoyed talking to you so tell us if any of our audience want to get in touch with you, how might they do that?
Michael: Yeah, well the easiest way would be to contact me on LinkedIn. So, it’s linkedin-LinkedIn.com and then it’s, I guess, its slash I-N slash and then my name Michael Sinnhuber in one. www.linkedin.com/in/michaelsinnhuber/en
Dylis: I guess if you just search for Michael Sinnhuber…
Michael: Yeah, just search Michael Sinnhuber
Dylis: And I’ll spell your name out there Michael, I’ll spell your name S-I-N-N-H-U-B-E-R.
Michael: Yeah, that’s it.
Dylis: Excellent, excellent.
Michael: And, yeah. This will actually be the easiest way and where it kind of comes all together and people can see what I did, what I’m doing, what I’m planning to do in the future and we can start a conversation right there. So, this is why it’s actually…and if it’s…if the conversation evolves in a chat then we can always hop on a call so it’s a good starting point.
Dylis: Perfect, well, thank you so much once again Michael and hopefully we’ll talk again in the future.
Michael: Yeah hope so, thank you.
Dylis: Thank you. Bye for now.
Michael Sinnhuber, King Of Presentations, UNBoring Presenter Coach, Founder of “mcprezi – presentations that move” & the PRESENTER.WORLD and one of only around 50 Prezi Independent Experts worldwide!
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