The Brain Science Behind Creating Winning Business Presentations
In this article, you’ll find how Nobel Prize winning cutting edge brain science can help us design business presentations that own and control our audience’s attention.
Have you ever stopped to wonder why some PowerPoint slides are clearer and more memorable than others?
There is a science behind creating such clear and memorable slides. The science is based on brain research.
When you follow some principles of brain science, your audience will have no other option than to pay attention to your presentation from start to finish.
When you have your audience’s attention, your ideas will get a fair evaluation. You get the results you want from your presentation – every single time with surprising consistency. Your participants in your training program will have absolute clarity from your presentation. Your team will execute your strategies flawlessly.
You will feel confident to walk into the boardroom and make your presentation. You will be seen as a leader by your audience.
What is this brain science about and why it matters to you
Brain research today is an exciting new field.
Charlie Rose in his ‘Brain Series’ says, ‘We have learnt more about our Brain in the last 5 years than we have in the entire human race prior to that”.
Studies done by Daniel Kahneman a Nobel Prize winner for Economics in 2002 has given us a new understanding about the way we think and take decisions.
When we combine this knowledge with the work of Professor Ale Smidts who pioneered a new branch of study called Neuromarketing around the same time – we have a complete picture.
By the way, Neuromarketing is the next generation of market research that uses brain imaging technology to understand customer behavior and hence predict their future purchasing decisions.
Companies like Coca Cola, Fritto lay, Levi Strauss, Ford, Google, CBS etc. are investing millions of dollars in neuroscience research to sharpen their communication and advertisements.
We can use the knowledge from the same cutting edge brain research to design business presentations that help us own and control our audience’s attention.
A quick look into how your audience is thinking
First let’s quickly get familiar with the way our brain functions.
Here is the picture of a human brain.
As you can observe – the brain has 3 layers that evolved over millions of years.
Over 500 million years ago our brain was much smaller.
Old Brain: This oldest part of our brain called reptilian brain or old brain was responsible for constantly scanning the surroundings and alerting us for danger. The natural skepticism of the old brain kept us safe for millions of years, even though we were a much weaker and slower species than most other animals that existed at that time.
Mid Brain: Then as we evolved as social animals, a new layer of brain formed that was responsible for processing emotions and feelings. We call this – the midbrain or emotional brain.
New Brain: Then as we evolved as a species and started doing more complex activities like using tools, thinking ideas etc., we developed a new brain called the rational brain. It is this part of the brain that is responsible for analysis, language processing, strategizing etc.
Much of the old brain and midbrain activities are outside of our conscious awareness. What we control and are conscious of is our new brain.
How does the brain process new information?
Let us use a simple metaphor to understand how the brain processes new information.
Every new information passes through 3 distinct stages.
1: Screening phase
2: Evaluation phase
3. The Decision phase.
The way these 3 functions are organized inside the brain is like this:
Midbrain and New brain are responsible for evaluating the information you present. Old brain is responsible for screening what goes into the evaluation phase and deciding on how to act on the evaluated information.
In other words – old brain is the skeptical ‘bouncer’ fiercely guarding the evaluation room.
If a piece of information manages to get inside the evaluation room, the midbrain evaluates the emotional value of the information, the new brain evaluates the logical strength and credibility of the information.
The evaluated information is then passed on to the old brain for final approval.
If you observe closely, the part of your audience’s brain that determines the fate of your presentation is their old brain.
If your message needs to be heard, your presentation should pass the powerful spam filters of the old brain.
Many great ideas have been totally ignored by the audience just because those ideas were not presented in an ‘old brain friendly’ way.
Most presenters are good in creating the most logical argument that convinces the new brain. But, they are poor at designing slides that pass the spam filters of the old brain.
So, then the natural question is…
What kind of spam filters are used by old brain?
To answer that, it is important to know why the old brain filters out information in the first place.
It is estimated that every second we are hit by a whopping 11 million pieces of new information. If our new brain had to process all of this information every second, we would have long gone insane.
Fortunately, our old brain uses powerful filters to screen this massive influx of information, so we remain sane. In fact, the screening process is so strict that – out of the 11 million pieces of information that enter the screening phase, only 40 are allowed to go to the next stage. Rest is marked as ‘Spam’.
The odds of a new information passing the screening phase is less than 4 in a million.
Can you now see why it is so hard to get your audience’s attention?
Unless you design your slides to bypass the powerful spam filters of the old brain, your information will be ignored by your audience, no matter how many hours you spend brainstorming and researching for facts.
What are those spam filters?
What simple thumb rules does old brain apply to filter out most of the information and let only a few ‘specific type of information’ to pass to the next stage?
Knowing this- will change the way you create your business presentations forever. Without this knowledge, no matter how many hours of hard work you put in – it will all go down the drain.
A good resource to build the technical skills for your business PowerPoint Presentations:
By the way, you may have the best of strategies to present your ideas, you may plan your content with utmost diligence. But, if your PowerPoint slides can’t support your message with clear and memorable visuals, your presentation would fail to make the necessary impact on your audience.
That is why we created the most comprehensive and creative PowerPoint Training online for Business presentations. It is called Ramgopal’s PowerPoint Mastery Program.
I especially invite you take a look at our 4 step Neuro Slide Design process, that allows you to convert any text based slides into clear and memorable visual slides in a matter of minutes.
The process is simple enough that any beginner can understand and implement the 4 step process easily. At the same time, each of the steps is backed by latest research from brain studies. So, you can be sure about the results you get from your presentation. In fact, Ramgopal’s PowerPoint Mastery Program is the only program you’ll need to create business presentations that are clear, compelling and effective – even if you are a novice in PowerPoint.