Show me the money

Illustration of man lost in a circular maze, surreal abstract concept

In a Greek myth, Ariadne falls in love with Theseus. Off to fight the Minotaur, Ariadne hands him a ball of yarn. When Theseus slays the Minotaur, the thread he strung along the labyrinth leads him out to freedom. How many times have you heard (or delivered) a technical presentation, but there was no yarn?

Scientists often encounter this challenge when submitting a paper. It’s stripped of messiness--confusions, blind alleys, and bad guesses. Unfortunately, if they present this information in the same clinical way, it will only appeal to others in their field.

And when scientists pitch to venture capitalists, private equity firms, or boards, these audiences don’t care how cool the technology or device is, they often only care about profitability. Typically, the presenters are allocated about ten minutes and only 6-8 slides. Their conditioning and audience don’t align, which is why so many funding pitches fail. And that goes for financial advisors, engineers, and law firms.

In your field, look carefully at the informational content, as well as the emotional component, which contains analogies, metaphors, similes, and stories. These are the persuasive elements and must be included to be memorable. Ask yourself. “Does my audience require more informational or emotional language?” Every presentation needs a purpose, message, and intention… and carry yarn.

(Thanks to Jeff Wisotzkey, PhD, Clinical Laboratory Scientific Director for his invaluable insights.)

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