Episode 14: Tim Pollard: The Architecture of Exceptional Presentations

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In this episode of the Manage Your Message Podcast host Jim Karrh talks with Tim Pollard, an expert in the art of business communication. After years of working in sales and marketing for such companies as Unilever, Barclays Bank, and the Corporate Executive Board, Tim founded Oratium, a consulting and training company that helps clients with executive sales and donor messaging. Tim is also the author of The Compelling Communicator: Mastering the Art and Science of Exceptional Presentation Design.

Jim and Tim begin by tackling a damaging, fundamental problem for many businesses as they attempt to grow: they believe they have strong products/services, but at the same time say that the messaging behind those products/services is weak and ineffective. (Tim reports that, on average across companies and industries, companies rate their own solutions at an average of 8.1 on a 1-10 scale but rate their messaging at 3.9 on the same scale.)

Tim finds that there are three “toxic hallmarks” of most commercial messaging: (1) there is far too much information for our brains to handle; (2) the message is too confusing, filled with technical jargon and lacking a logical narrative; and (3) the focus in typically on the sender and what they are most proud of. He points out the danger of using PowerPoint for business presentations, and ultimately concludes that business messaging needs a major overhaul if companies are to see better results.

He says professionals and companies can create a dramatic breakthrough if they break out of the typical rut. And the answer isn’t in tactics or “hacks.” Tim says, “You can have the eye contact of a peregrine falcon and the body language of Kramer from Seinfeld, but still be totally ineffective if your message has been poorly architected.”

Next, Tim and Jim consider the proper architecture of a message. Tim clarifies that the human brain consumes information in certain ways, and that it only stores information for which it has a context.  So, companies need to focus on making a message “sticky” to audiences’ brains. The message must be anchored in the problem the company aims to solve for its potential client, clear, and built around ideas rather than data. The message should also follow Tim’s six principles, including relevance, simplification, and balanced engagement of the right and left sides of the brain. The message manager must also be mindful of what distinct messages will appeal to a company’s buying group and higher-level executives.


Learn more about Oratium: https://www.oratium.com/

Follow Oratium on Twitter: https://twitter.com/_Oratium

Purchase Tim Pollard’s book, The Compelling Communicator

Learn more about Jim Karrh https://jimkarrh.com/

Follow Jim on Twitter https://twitter.com/jimkarrh?lang=en

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