Bring the Backstory to the Forefront

"Why" Behind

Reveal the “Why” Behind

These days, almost every company is scouring the balance sheet, looking for savings. The value of business meetings, for example, is seriously scrutinized and presenters are asking themselves: “How can I create a presentation that delivers real bottom-line results?”

For an answer, first imagine a presenter who says the following:

“We need to develop an optimum contract agreement with our South American distributor in support of our 2016 subsidiary conversion plan.” Would that motivate you to get the job done?

Now imagine a speaker who translates that uninspiring sentence into an intriguing story. “Let me tell you something about ruby slippers and what they have to do with our contact in South America.”  Frame a story that reveals exactly why this distributor is so important to company sales and growth opportunities — and to the entire audience’s job security. Now that’s inspiring!

I call this kind of backstory the “Why” Behind. Presenting the facts isn’t enough. You need to explain WHY the facts are important.

Give your presentation real meaning.  Before your next presentation, ask yourself these three questions:

Question #1:  Am I being clear?

The most effective presenters strip away the jargon, industry lingo and acronyms. They deliver meaningful information using simple, understandable language. This isn’t a radical idea, it won’t offend anyone and you won’t appear uninformed. Instead, you will be clear and easily understood with little room for misinterpretation.

Let’s say your company’s strategy is to “improve customer service by hiring quality personnel who are brand connected and have strong business acumen.”

Instead, consider the “Why” Behind and try this: “hire people who live our brand and know how to make a dollar.”

Question #2:  Why is my presentation important to my audience?

To really get your message across, ask yourself, “Why is this important to my audience? Why should they care?” Connecting your message to success and opportunity for your audience guarantees their engagement.

Let’s say your company is planning to “develop an optimum contractual agreement with distribution as part of a long-term plan for South America.”

Instead, try this: “Our South American contract is essential because it represents 10% of our global business. If we finalize this contract over the next three months, we can grow our brand in a key market and hit our revenue goals.”

Question #3:  How can I make sure my message sticks?

Making your message sticky means making it memorable. Stickiness definitely takes creativity and thinking outside the box — but it doesn’t have to be as hard as it sounds.

Let’s say your company’s customers are having an inferior in-store experience and sales are down. As a result, you’re rolling out a new customer service training initiative.

How can you make your message stick and gain audience support? Simply share the “Why” Behind.  Tell a couple of stories about real customer experiences. Offer personal anecdotes and use highly visual slides to grab attention:

  • Show a revolving door to represent high turnover
  • Put up a picture of an associate who embodies your brand
  • Describe that associate’s reaction to the new customer service training

By making your presentation sticky, you’ll be on your way toward getting the results you need.

Your listeners may not remember all the specifics of your presentation. But by using the “Why” Behind technique, you’ll ensure that they will remember the backstory — and give you the support you need to achieve your objectives.



When TED talks, people listen.

Who would imagine that a talk entitled, “How to Use A Paper Towel” could be informative, engaging and memorable. Joe Smith, an attorney and active figure in the Oregon community did.  Speaking at the TEDx Conference at Concordia University in Oregon, Joe reveals the trick to a perfect paper towel technique.

Enlighting and fun, as you watch this video consider how Joe:

  • Uses the “Rule of 3” to create engaging content.
  • Captures your attention with “little known facts.”
  • Connects with his audience.
  • Maximizes the impact of his message using props.


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