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Smart Presentations: Remember This

The greatest truths are the simplest. Often, they touch what we know or believe, but with an economy of words and a clarity that cuts through all the B.S. and makes us realize the wisdom.

Here's one that should be burned in the brain of anyone and everyone in business:

Logic leads to conclusions. Emotion leads to action.

Makes sense, doesn't it? Think how much better all our interactions would be if we applied this—not just in presentations or sales pitches, but in our dealings with colleagues, business partners, family, and friends. Apply this with anyone you're trying to influence and you'll dramatically improve your chances of success.

So what does this look like in a presentation or a sales pitch? Well…

You're using logic if you:

• Say "We're the industry leader."

• Have a slide detailing your company's background.

• Use a list of features and benefits.

• Take two minutes to say what could be expressed in 20 seconds.

• Show more than eight bullet points in your entire deck.

• Include product or service names on your title slide.

On the other hand, you're tapping emotion if you:

• Say "Here's why this matters."

• Have a slide detailing their issues and objectives.

• Drill into what they can achieve.

• Engage them in a conversation—not a dissertation.

• Use pictures instead of text.

• Start out with a goal slide.

In you-me parlance, logic is about "me" and emotion is about "you" (the one or ones we want to influence). Take the time to find that chord that will resonate with them—that will affect them on a deeper level than pure logic can ever reach—and you'll both be better for it.

John Windsor is president of Creating Thunder, a Boulder, CO-based communications training and consulting company and the author of YouBlog, He has held executive positions in marketing, sales, and business development and has worked with companies including American Express, Reuters, Staples, and Knight-Ridder.